People: Javier Guitian, Imadidden Musallam, Erica Nunney

Traditional food markets are important locations for the spread of COVID-19, but they also play important economic and socio-cultural roles in most low and middle-income countries. Therefore, although there is an urgent need for risk mitigation strategies that effectively tackle COVID-19 transmission in traditional markets, it is also important that these strategies are equitable, culturally sensitive and sustainable.

In this project, we aim to co-design bespoke plans to reduce COVID-19 transmission in markets in Bolivia and Peru, two countries disproportionately hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. Working with the health services and the market sellers’ associations of the localities of Sacaba (Bolivia) and Huancayo (Peru), we will pilot a health promotion plan for market sellers and their families that will include early-detection and follow-up of COVID-19 infections. Data from the follow-up of a high-risk population will be valuable to answer pending questions in relation to COVID-19 infection, and enhanced local capacity resulting from the project will not only help facing the current pandemic but also future public health emergencies.

The research team includes researchers from RVC, LSHTM, Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, Universidad Nacional Mayor San Marcos and Universidad Mayor de San Simon as well as researchers affiliated with the Belgium universities of Ghent and Namur and the think tank GRADE in Peru.

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