An unusual collaboration fighting the scourge of Hepatitis-C

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An unusual collaboration fighting the scourge of Hepatitis-C

An activist tries to reach at-risk populations through song.

The public health challenges of low-income communities of color often don’t make headlines. While there is wide debate about the effects of the opioid epidemic and other health challenges, the silent scourge of Hepatitis-C is roiling those communities.

Cecil “Ngoni” Tengatenga is attempting to change that narrative. A graduate of Trinity College, Tengatenga works in the Health and Human Services department in the city of Hartford. He is the project manager for the federal Ryan White Program, which serves the metropolitan area of Hartford, Middlesex and Tolland counties in combating Hepatitis-C and HIV/AIDS.

Tengatenga has focused on health education and prevention for low-income communities of color, but he found an unexpected barrier to his work: Individuals he was trying to educate couldn’t understand the educational materials he had. They were written at a tenth-grade reading level, but many of the people he spoke with could only read at a fifth-grade level. He would need some other way to get his message out.

His attempts to reach out to people in a new way led him to the experimental sounds of Baka Fana, a musical group started a little over a year ago by Enrique J. Espinoza, 29, and Busani Ngazimbi, 28. The two became friends during their graduate studies in music at Central Connecticut State University, and dedicated themselves to infusing rock and other genres of music with their own personal and political touch.

The three men bonded over their shared history. Both Tengatenga and Ngazimbi hail from Zimbabwe, while Cecil works in Hartford’s government with Espinoza’s father. So when Tengatenga suggested using music to reach out to low-literacy populations about their health, a partnership was born not just to combat Hepatitis-C in the Hartford region, but also to show under-served communities what is possible for them.

Read full article: An unusual collaboration fighting the scourge of Hepatitis-C | The CT Mirror

Read Full Article: An unusual collaboration fighting the scourge of Hepatitis-C | The CT Mirror

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