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Scientists Opt to Visual Art to Promote Vaccination Among Pregnant Women

URN spoke to Luke Jerram, an Installation Artist involved in the campaign and he said he chose to use fashion design to illustrate that just as clothing protects us from the outside world, whether from extreme temperature, rain or abrasion, so vaccinations create a layer of protection from infection.
Some of the fashions showcased.

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Scientists at a Mulago -based research entity are opting to using art to create awareness about the benefits of taking vaccines in pregnancy, an area which researchers often go into cautiously.

Dr. Mary Kyohere, a researcher at Makerere University - John Hopkins University Research Collaboration (MU-JHU) says in Uganda, the only vaccines currently recommended in pregnancy are the Tetanus and COVID-19 jabs and yet evidence is pointing to other vaccines which if taken will not only be safe for the mother but the baby.

“In the future we will be able to protect against other infections that cause severe illness in babies, such as group B streptococcus which affects newborns”.

In a new campaign dubbed clothed with protection, MU-JHU is partnering with the UK based University of Southampton where they have a contracted a visual artist to simply communicate to the target population through art that vaccines given in pregnancy will reduce maternal and neonatal mortality.

URN spoke to Luke Jerram, an Installation Artist involved in the campaign and he said he chose to use fashion design to illustrate that just as clothing protects us from the outside world, whether from extreme temperature, rain or abrasion, so vaccinations create a layer of protection from infection.

//Cue in:” I was invited by ……………    

Cue out: ………..  safe for the mother."//  

Jerram says he has selected local designers who have a background of creating art from recycled fabric to form the astonishing apparel and other work.

 He says the art that is made to mimic shapes of viruses will translate maternity vaccine messages into visible impressions and stimulate conversations that will improve involvement and uptake of maternal vaccination at the local level.   

//Cue in:” The designer has ………..   

Cue out: ………….. take the vaccine."//  

In addition to this, Jerram says a local musician has a composed a song to amplify the messages showcased in the art works.

//Cue in:” The song will be ………   

Cue out: ………… on the radio.”//  

Scientists explain that during the later stages of pregnancy, antibodies are transferred across the placenta from mother to child.

Dr. Chrissie Jones, a researcher at the University of Southampton says this is the message they are trying to communicate that vaccination in pregnancy boosts this natural process, providing protection to the infant in the early weeks of life.  

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