The community advisory board (CAB) at St. Peter’s Tuberculosis Specialized Hospital in Addis, Ababa, Ethiopia was established on March 1, 2017, with the support of the STREAM trial. The CAB is committed to supporting STREAM because it believes the results of the trial will be important to improving treatment for MDR-TB and alleviating patient suffering.
The CAB is led by Tamrat Gebremariam, who works very closely with the community liaison officer, Ashenafi Ambire. The CAB’s diversity is its strength. It includes members from women’s organizations, social welfare associations, local Orthodox Christian and Muslim organizations, representatives from the local woreda (districts), former MDR-TB patients, and local police, among others.
The wide range of professions, age groups, genders, and religions represented on the CAB gives it the perspective it needs to effectively reach community members through its outreach activities. The St. Peter’s CAB participates in community outreach activities at least twice per quarter. These activities aim to create an open dialogue surrounding TB with local community members, improve understanding of the challenges faced by patients in accessing and receiving TB care, and raising awareness in the community about TB and research. And the CAB is always looking for better ways to achieve its goals. For instance, recently, the CAB proposed to commission a documentary that could be used by CAB members to help educate the community about TB treatment and prevention.
Earlier this year, the St. Peter’s CAB hosted the first-ever journalist training implemented by the trial. The training, entitled “Effective Use of Tuberculosis Data in Public Health Journalism”, brought together about 15 journalists from Addis Ababa and was led by the site’s principal investigator, Dr. Daniel Meressa, with support from experts from Vital Strategies. Participants learned how to source reliable scientific articles and translate technical findings into information suitable for the general public. This resulted in several media publications and broadcasts on the advances of MDR-TB treatment and results of STREAM Stage 1. These pieces were featured in one of the most widely circulated newspapers, a national TV station, and two popular radio stations. To read more about the training for journalists in Addis Ababa, please click here.
In the upcoming year, the St. Peter’s CAB will continue to focus on creating a welcoming environment for affected communities and on sensitizing communities about STREAM, research, and TB.