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About the EMERGE project

The COVID-19 pandemic and associated national lockdowns in Uganda offers a unique opportunity to explore how a public health crisis affects gendered health issues and community wellness at the individual, household and community level. In June 2020, the UCLA/AMBSO partnership received a sub-award to collect data on novel COVID-19 EMERGE measures in the AMBSO Population Health Surveillance (APHS) cohort. The project was implemented in Wakiso and Hoima districts of Uganda between June 2020 and March 2021 under the leadership of Prof. Jennifer Wagman (the US Principal Investigator), Dr. Amanda P. Miller (US Co-Investigator) and Mr. Stephen Mugamba (the Uganda Principal Investigator).  

Funding Approach

The project was supported by a Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation grant through the University of California – San Diego (PI – Anita Raj),and was designed to collect data globally that responds to SDG-5, which aims at propelling progress indicators on Gender Equality and Empowerment for all Women. The Evidence-based Measures of Empowerment for Research on Gender Equity (EMERGE) initiative focuses on improving measurement of gender equality and empowerment through the development, consolidation and validation of surveys and scales that measure aspects of gender equity and empowerment. EMERGE has established an online repository of Gender Equality and Empowerment measures being used in health and development research. In addition to consolidating existing measures, EMERGE aims to develop, piloting and validate novel Gender Equality and Empowerment measures through global partnerships.

Domains and Variables of measure

We collected EMERGE measures aimed at capturing prevalence of and changes to gender-related health issues in the context of the COVID-19 lockdown, including measures of Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) such as the experience of physical, sexual and verbal violence, reproductive coercion, self-efficacy and brief resilience coping mechanisms. A measure of household and community effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown were also collected.  In addition to these EMERGE measures, we also used validated measures such as the Patient Health Questionnaire Depression Scale (PHQ-9), COVID-19-Related Anxiety Scale (CAS) and the Alcohol Use Disorders Test- Consumption (AUDIT-C) to capture aspects of mental health and alcohol use.

Nesting the EMERGE Project in the AMBSO Population Health Surveillance Cohort (APHS)

The AMBSO/UCLA EMERGE project was nested in the ongoing APHS cohort study where a mid-round phone survey was used to collect IPV, coping and resilience, mental health and alcohol use data from 3 communities in Wakiso district between June to August 2020. Subsequently, measures of reproductive coercion, IPV and household and community effects of COVID-19 were included in APHS’s round two face to face main survey in four communities in Wakiso and Hoima districts between September 2020-March 2021.


Preliminary analysis of the EMERGE data has been done and manuscripts and Research articles have been written. (See below)

Some pictures from APHS Activities

APHS Face to face Interviews


APHS Phone Interview