STREAM Community Advisory Board holds community outreach event to raise awareness about TB and HIV, in Durban, South Africa

Earlier this year, the STREAM Community Advisory Board (CAB) in Durban, South Africa carried out a community outreach event, ‘Our Responsibility. If not infected you are affected’. The event was held at Zinto Cele Park, Umlazi, and sought to raise awareness about tuberculosis (TB), multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB), HIV, and TB clinical trials, which are ongoing at the site, including the STREAM trial.

 Community members gathered at the outreach event to learn about TB, MDR-TB and HIV.

Community members gathered at the outreach event to learn about TB, MDR-TB and HIV.

The event was well attended with representatives from local NGOs, religious and traditional leaders, as well as TB stakeholders, including the TB coordinator from the municipal Department of Health. 

During the course of the day, CAB members gave talks on TB and MDR-TB. Participants gathered to listen to CAB members and TB experts provide much needed information about TB and HIV. Experts were also available to answer questions about STREAM and other clinical trials.

 CAB members, TB/HIV experts and community members discuss key issues at the event.

CAB members, TB/HIV experts and community members discuss key issues at the event.

As well as providing key information about prevention, screening was also conducted during the day. Neighboring communities of Umlazi D section received home visits from the local Community Care Givers and the CAB members, during which they addressed prevention and treatment of TB, MDR-TB, and HIV and provided the opportunity for families to be screened.

Read more about TREAT TB’s Community Engagement work, here.

CAB members begin home visits for STREAM trial participants in Ahmedabad, India

As part of their community engagement activities, the Community Advisory Board (CAB) at the STREAM trial site in Ahmedabad, India, recently began home visits to provide crucial psychosocial support for STREAM participants and their families.

For the first time, the two STREAM sites in India - the National Institute for Research in Tuberculosis (NIRT) based in Chennai, and B. J. Medical College (BJMC) in Ahmedabad - have integrated community engagement into their approach to a clinical trial. Community engagement activities at the two sites are planned and led by the STREAM CABs and, during early meetings, members of the Ahmedabad CAB decided to prioritize home visits to trial participants in their annual work plan.

Home visits provide CAB members with the opportunity to give direct support to trial participants and discuss their experience of tuberculosis and the STREAM trial. They not only provide much needed support for affected families, but also offer CAB members insight into each family’s unique situation. This is invaluable for both CAB members and families, as it means that the support offered to trial participants and their families can be tailored to their needs.

 STREAM CAB members visit trial participants in Ahmedabad.

STREAM CAB members visit trial participants in Ahmedabad.

Community Engagement is critical for clinical trials because it helps to create a collaborative relationship between the community and trial implementers. It establishes a direct feedback link between the two groups and helps ensure that affected communities are aware of the objectives of the trial, while also understanding how it will be implemented. Community engagement also creates a sense of trial ownership in affected communities and prepares them to receive and disseminate trial results when they become available.  

STREAM’s community engagement activities are supported by USAID and are expected to continue for the duration of the trial.

Find more information on TREAT TB and community engagement, here.

TREAT TB to discuss the importance of community engagement in clinical trials in upcoming capacity building webinar

On December 6, 2018, TREAT TB will host its third webinar in its series aimed at strengthening capacity to conduct high-quality clinical trials for multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB). This webinar will focus on issues relating to community engagement in MDR-TB clinical trials and will feature a presentation from Ezio Tavora dos Santos Filho, STREAM Community Engagement Coordinator from REDE-TB, followed by a question and answer session.

TREAT TB’s MDR-TB clinical trial capacity building webinar series will continue over the coming months, with webinars scheduled for January, March, and May 2019. Future topics to be addressed include regulatory requirements, institutional review boards and ethics approval, laboratory strengthening and community engagement, among others.

To listen to the latest webinar, please click here.  

To read more about the TREAT TB project, click here.

TREAT TB builds capacity in supply chain management for MDR-TB clinical trials

TREAT TB’s second webinar in its capacity building series aimed at strengthening capacity to conduct high-quality clinical trials for multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB). This webinar focused on issues relating to supply chain management for MDR-TB trials and featured a presentation from Dr. Jan Komrska, senior pharmacist at Vital Strategies, followed by a question and answer session.

The discussion addressed the need for multiple supply chains to be designed, implemented, and managed in order to ensure the provision of the substantial resources required for clinical trials.

 Dr. Jan Komrska also detailed key components to a successful supply chain, explaining that supply chain management requires dedicated and trained staff who are an integral part of the research team. It is important that they understand the needs of the customers, suppliers, and partners in order to ensure responsive supply chain design and management and reduce misunderstandings and errors.

The presentation also highlighted the importance of team work and good communication, including the use of clear, simple instructions, visual aids and logs.

TREAT TB’s MDR-TB clinical trial capacity building webinar series will continue over the coming months, with webinars scheduled for December, January, March, and May. Future topics to be addressed include regulatory requirements, institutional review boards and ethics approval, laboratory strengthening and community engagement, among others.

To listen to the latest webinar, please click here

To view Dr. Komrska’s presentation, see here

To read more about the TREAT TB project, click here.

TREAT TB highlights its work at this year’s World Conference on Lung Health

Over 4,000 delegates from around the world attended The Union’s 49th World Conference on Lung Health and participated in a four-day scientific program of plenary sessions, symposia, panel discussions, and poster presentations.

This conference provided an excellent opportunity for international representatives of the TREAT TB project to share progress made, discuss best practices and lessons learned with global tuberculosis (TB) stakeholders.

TREAT TB hosted a number of sessions including:

 The sessions touched on three key aspects of TREAT TB’s work:

  • Clinical research

  • Capacity building and

  • Community engagement

 STREAM investigators answer questions from the audience about STREAM Stage 1 final results.

STREAM investigators answer questions from the audience about STREAM Stage 1 final results.

TREAT TB closed the conference by providing an update on the STREAM trial. The STREAM trial aims to generate evidence regarding the safety and effectiveness of shorter, more tolerable MDR-TB regimens, while also improving local capacity to conduct clinical trials. Evidence generated by this trial has and will continue to contribute to development of international and national treatment guidelines. During TREAT TB’s final session of the conference, STREAM partners, including Vital Strategies, The Medical Research Counsel at University College London, and the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, discussed STREAM Stage 1 results and implications for the implementation of the shortened regimen. To read more about the STREAM trial, click here.

 

 Attendees capture key information from symposium on clinical trial capacity building for MDR-TB clinical trials.

Attendees capture key information from symposium on clinical trial capacity building for MDR-TB clinical trials.

TREAT TB’s session on capacity building for MDR-TB clinical trials provided the opportunity for experts to discuss the current landscape for TB clinical trials, focusing on key issues currently affecting clinical trial capacity. Speakers from around the world addressed topics ranging from supply chain management to mycobacteriology laboratory capacity to community engagement in MDR-TB clinical trials. They highlighted progress to date, current challenges and possible ways to improve capacity for conducting clinical trials, drawing on their experience with the STREAM Clinical Trial and other TB research ongoing in their countries.  To read more about the capacity building work carried out by TREAT TB, click here.

A common message repeated in each of TREAT TB’s sessions, and the sentiment echoed in discussion with participants, was that community engagement is integral to the successful implementation of clinical research. Presenters and participants alike also agreed on the vital role played by community advisory boards (CABs) to ensure that communities and stakeholders understand the trial process and take ownership. CABs also act as a critical link between affected communities and trial staff, sharing community views on key implementation issues.

 Participants fully engaged in with panelists regarding challenges and solutions for improved dissemination of clinical trial results.

Participants fully engaged in with panelists regarding challenges and solutions for improved dissemination of clinical trial results.

During TREAT TB’s panel discussion on the dissemination of clinical trial results, Ezio Tavora Dos Santos Filho, the STREAM Community Engagement Coordinator from REDE-TB discussed community engagement as a ‘mechanism of accountability’ which ensures that trials and study teams are held accountable to governments, donors, and above all, trial participants. To read more about TREAT TB and STREAM’s work in community engagement, click here.

You can find more information on the Union’s 49th Conference on Lung Health here.

The STREAM clinical trial is being implemented by Vital Strategies and its affiliate, the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (The Union). The trial represents a unique collaboration between USAID, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Vital Strategies and The Union, and aims to generate evidence regarding the effectiveness of shorter, more tolerable treatment regimens for MDR-TB.