Eh!woza: intersection of art and science to engage youth on tuberculosis
Despite substantial expenditure by national tuberculosis (TB) programmes, significant efforts by advocacy groups, and heavy investment in clinical and biomedical research, TB remains a health emergency disproportionately impacting the poorest and most vulnerable in southern Africa and other endemic regions. Personal experiences of TB are varying and contrasting in these areas where misconception, stigma and taboo are commonplace. An urgent need therefore exists for projects that engage community members as active partners in reducing the impact of TB and other diseases. Eh!woza aims to address this need by fostering collaborative interactions between biomedical TB researchers, a conceptual artist, a non-governmental organization, and young people living in Khayelitsha, a township outside Cape Town. In a series of workshops, the project engages high-school learners with biomedical TB research and provides space, guidance and equipment for participants to produce documentaries about personal experiences of TB. Here, we describe the project’s growth, the results of a formal evaluation which suggest that Eh!woza is responsive to changing dynamics within the study setting, and preliminary findings from anthropological research investigating how knowledge is configured within the project. Finally, we consider prospects for expanding the project and briefly discuss challenges whose resolution could ensure long-term sustainability.
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