Exploratory Research Stage
AfWORO established a research collaboration with the Institut de Recherche en Santé, de Surveillance Epidémiologique et de Formation (IRESSEF) in Dakar, Senegal. Within this collaboration, PhD candidate Mrs. Nicole Nkoum (IRESSEF) received scientific mentoring from Dr. Elhadji Mbaye (IRESSEF) and Dr. Guillermo Martínez Pérez (AfWORO), and has conducted her first socio-epidemiological research as principal investigator. The aim of her research is to map and frame the experiences, meanings and values with regards to psychosocial and sexual health and ill health of men who have sex with men and with women (MSM/W) in Dakar, Senegal.
Using a life stories approach, Mrs. Nkoum’s project reached out to a group of twenty MSM/W who were identified using a respondent-driven sampling approach with the aid of a local community-based organization that advocates for the needs of vulnerable populations in Senegal. Participants in this project were invited to voice out their life journey through a legal, social and health system that does not safeguard their sexual rights, including their rights to demand, access and adhere to HIV/Sexually-transmitted diseases prevention and treatment services.
This project is entirely funded by AfWORO members’ contributions, and has been conducted in agreement with national regulations for human subjects conduct. The study protocol received ethics approval in May 2018 from the National Health Ethics Board in Senegal.
Translation to Advocacy and Training Stage
In November 2018, AfWORO supported Mrs. Nkoum’s travel to the Faculty of Health Sciences – University of Saragossa (UNIZAR, Spain). During her visit, Mrs. Nkoum received mentorship from Dr. Ángel Gasch, UNIZAR Assistant Professor with expertise in HIV and masculinities research, on the analysis of the project’s data and in the preparation of research dissemination outputs.
The project aimed at translating MSM/W life lessons into a shared knowledge that will inform subsequent training and advocacy on sexual and psychosocial ill health prevention for peer MSM/W, health workers, and other policy-makers. Currently, Mrs. Nkoum is preparing dissemination materials for peer-review fora as well as a book that reunites the participants’ experiences and which will be published by AfWORO in collaboration with UNIZAR.
Mrs. Nkoum has also submitted an amendment of her study protocol with the aim to translate her research findings into a series of workshops on psychosocial care for MSM/W that will target nurses and HIV counsellors in Dakar. The Training stage of her research is expected to commence by the last quarter of 2019.
In August of 2020, the interviews conducted with the MSM/W in Senegal were published in the book titled “La bisexualité au Sénégal: Histoires de vie et de santé dans le milieu dakarois“. The book contains the raw experiences of MSM/W in Senegal, telling their stories of experiencing daily homophobia-induced stigma and discrimination. The book also explores how these experiences in a homophobic environment affects the health of the MSM/W population in Dakar.
This book contains the data collected during the SENEKEYPOP-1 study, which will be translated to influence clinical practice in Senegal during SENEKEYPOP-2. To continue funding African women scientists such as Nicole Nkoum, we’re selling physical copies of this book. 100% of the profits will be destined to direct costs of research led by women scientists that are supported by AfWORO.