A Study of COVID-19 Adaptation Strategies for Residents of Multi-tenanted Housing in Lagos, Nigeria

Lead Research Organisation: University of Lagos
Department Name: Cntr for Housing & Sustainable Develop


The index case in Nigeria was announced on 27 February 2020 in Lagos. As at April 27 2020, the pandemic has reached over 32 of 36 states in the country, with 1,337 confirmed cases, 40 deaths, 225 recovered cases and allegations of vast under-reporting from various interest groups. Lagos is still the epicenter of the Covid-19 Pandemic in Nigeria with 54% of confirmed cases. While the mortality is low to compared to other countries, the potential for community spread and the recognition of the difficulty in managing it is now acute.
In the campaign to keep safe against the spread of the pandemic, the major interventions are practicing regular hand washing, social distancing and keeping safe at home as well as self-isolation (implied to be done at home). Our research is motivated by concern about the capacity of residents of multi-tenanted houses to adhere to these instructions in an environment of lack of basic amenities and overcrowding, especially as there has been remarkable silence on coping strategies for these people in both state and federal government as well from the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) directives on COVID-19 protection.

The purpose of this research is thus to provide support for the prevention of community spread of COVID-19 amongst residents of multi-tenanted housing in Lagos, Nigeria. The research support is anchored on the adoption of history, literature and music in understanding the coping mechanisms, promoting adherence to public health measures and advocating for community prevention strategies for people who live in multi-tenanted housing. The research is particularly focused on residents of multi-tenanted houses in Lagos, because their overcrowded living conditions make them particularly vulnerable to community spread of the Pandemic.

The study adopts remote working methods (telephone interviews, radio call-in programs, social media and engagement) with archival research on history and literature engagement to ascertain the coping mechanisms that has worked in the past and will work now in the prevention of pandemic spread in poorer communities. The study will provide strategies on how to maintain social distance even in limited spaces and educate residents on the best ways to practicably share common and scarce facilities while maintaining healthy habits by providing tangible results that are of practical use to them. It will produce contextual studies about how residents of multi-tenanted housing cope with and respond to institutional health advocacy Improved knowledge on how local strategies differ from those adopted/recommended by the global movement. With these, the research will also be providing evidence of the role of arts activities in improving the lives of the poor and vulnerable residents of low-income localities. Envisaged research outcomes include advocacy jingles and spoken words to be aired in local language languages using very popular and local media such as radio, short animations to be shared widely on social media, and colourful posters to be disseminated in streets. In addition, policy briefs would be shared with government agencies, academic papers will be submitted to peer-reviewed International Journals. Other outcomes include on-line conference meetings.

The research therefore brings researchers from History, Creative Arts, Literature and Housing, Pro-poor development with community leaders, media practitioners and government to ensure proactive actions are taken to further contain the spread of the pandemic in Lagos, Nigeria's pandemic epicenter. As there are comparable conditions of dense, sub-standard housing in most developing world cities now facing the pandemic, the research will also be capable of being replicated in other African cities facing similar challenges.


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Description We discovered the following:
(i) Housing precarity increases vulnerability to COVID-19 and other diseases
(2) Basic service gaps continue to limit the effectiveness of COVID-19 mitigation strategies
(3) Prolonged lockdowns can be counterproductive
(4) Health-induced spatial displacement can increase vulnerability to COVID-19 infection
(5) The COVID-19 pandemic has significant gender dimensions
(6) Trust is a key ingredient for effective community engagement
(7) More effective capacity is required at the local government leel for COVId-19 containment
Exploitation Route (i) We adopted a multi-disciplinary approach that allowed researchers from the Arts and Humanities to work with Housing studies researchers from the Built Environment. The mixed methods research that resulted from this can be replicated in other studies.
(2) To address the limitation posed by COVID-19 restrictions, we collected data through contactless methods such as radio-programmes call ins and social media analytics amongst others. A similar aproach would be replicated if faced with circumstances such as this.
(3) We fostered a relationship with the media and community partners that enabled impact to be spread more widely. These processes can also be adopted.
Sectors Communities and Social Services/Policy,Construction,Creative Economy,Education,Environment,Healthcare,Leisure Activities, including Sports, Recreation and Tourism,Government, Democracy and Justice,Security and Diplomacy,Transport

URL https://chsd.unilag.edu.ng/?p=1352
Description We have prepared an output titled: Public Health Advisory on COVID-19 Management for Residents of Multi-tenanted Housing in Nigerian Cities, which was published in one National Newspaper, one regional newspaper and local newspaper. This was was to ensure that our findings catch the attention of policymakers and the general public. We also developed a public health announcement (jingle) on COVID-19 protection at home, which captured our findings in 60 seconds. The jingle is being played in six radio stations in Lagos. This is in addition to the animated video that we prepared and shared widely to bring out about behaivoural changes in people, especially the young on how to manage covid-19 protection in the home. In addition, we prepared banners that are posted in visible sections in 23 communities across Lagos.
First Year Of Impact 2020
Impact Types Societal,Policy & public services

Description FESADEB Communications Ltd 
Organisation Fesadeb Communications Ltd
Country Nigeria 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution The Research team designed the output material, in the form of an animated cartoon on COVID-19 prevention for airing to the Media partner.
Collaborator Contribution FESADEB Communications Ltd acted as Media Partner to this project and aided the dissemination of research outputs to reach a wider audience.
Impact Increased audience reach of animated jingles
Start Year 2020
Description Lagos State Urban Renewal Agency 
Organisation Lagos State Government
Department Lagos State Urban Renewal Agency (LASURA)
Country Nigeria 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution The collaboration was to ensure that the research benefitted from the inputs of key stakeholders and to improve the communication and impact of research findings,
Collaborator Contribution The Lagos Urban Renewal Agency is the anchor agency for slum redevelopment and provided insights into governments' plans for housing improvements in the communities being studied.
Impact In-depth interview
Start Year 2020
Description COVID-19 Public Enlightenment 
Form Of Engagement Activity A broadcast e.g. TV/radio/film/podcast (other than news/press)
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Jingles were co-produced with non-academic partners, specifically the Nigerian Slum/Informal Communities Federation and aired in local radio stations across Lagos, woman-angle radio for engendering the research process with broadcast in English and four local langiuages.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020,2021
Description COVID-19 Public Enlightenment (Social Media) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact This activity enabled the dissemination of research messages through colourful animation graphics that showed how people residing in multi-tenanted residences could protect themselves against OCIVD-19.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020,2021
URL https://fb.watch/3TiwZkFJ9n
Description Mobile Community Outreach 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Public health messages were dissmeniated by the community partners to over 23 communities in Lagos, by means of street-based information campaigns.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
Description Public Health Advisory 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact A full newspaper page Public Health Advisory on COVID-19 Management was released to three Newspaper: One National Newspaper, one regional newspaper and one in a local langiage (yoruba).
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
URL https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1bsYgu_FMuffGuP9Ff-i2--MU8b9DAiW_?usp=sharing
Description Research Engagement through radio stations 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Radio call-in programs were conducted over a period of 3 weeks, from the 4th-24th of December, 2020. The Call-ins were carried out in 5 languages: English, Yoruba, Igbo, Hausa and Pidgin via 2 radio stations: BOND FM (92.9FM) and Radio One (103.5FM). The Call-ins provided insight into how residents of multi-tenanted housing were coping with the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020