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.
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.