Earlier this month, 15 members of the STREAM community advisory board (CAB) from Addis Ababa took part in a refresher training session run by Dr Mohammed Abseno, trial sub-investigator and coordinator for the St. Peter’s Tuberculosis Specialized Hospital, one of the two STREAM sites in Ethiopia. Along with the site’s principal investigator, Dr Daniel Meressa, he worked with the various members of the CAB- which includes religious leaders, managers, technicians, and members of the police force – to improve their understanding of tuberculosis (TB), multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) and the STREAM trial itself.

‘These refresher trainings are an important part of the STREAM trial, as they provide much needed capacity building and best practice sharing for members of the CAB. By the end of the training session, the members of the CAB feel empowered and ready for action!’, said Meressa. It is hoped that, as a result of these training sessions, the CAB members will feel confident and able to deliver accurate messages to the community where the STREAM trial is taking place, resulting in more people seeking medical advice where needed and an increased rate of suspected case referrals.

As part of TREAT TB’s STREAM trial, CABs play an important role in raising awareness and making complex information about TB and the trial accessible to members of the community. STREAM CABs help ensure community members are aware of the symptoms of TB and encourage them to seek medical care. They also improve retention and compliance by providing psychosocial support to trial participants and family members. Finally, they provide a critical feedback link between communities and trial staff, sharing community views on key issues to improve early diagnosis and enrolment in the trial. 

Comprised of volunteers from affected communities, CAB members have a unique relationship of trust with the communities participating in the trial. CABs work hand in hand with members of the community to inform them about the trial and keep them updated with the latest results so that they are aware of the purpose of the research, understand why it is so important, and know that it is carried out in accordance with the highest ethical standards.

To read more about STREAM in Ethiopia, click here