Four months ago, the STREAM Community Advisory Board (CAB) at St. Peter’s Tuberculosis Specialized Hospital (St. Peter’s) hosted the Effective Use of Tuberculosis Data in Public Health Journalism training for journalists in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The benefits of this skills-building training have already been seen with coverage in various local media outlets.
After this one-day training in April, several of the local journalists exemplified the teachings provided by STREAM Principal Investigator at St. Peter’s, Dr. Daniel Meressa Kokebu, and Drs. Lara Tabac and Leena Patel from Vital Strategies.
A story was published in the most widely circulated Amharic state newspaper on May 14, 2019. In the article, a journalist who attended the training interviewed Dr. Kokebu on the results of Stage 1 of the STREAM trial while examining the overall burden of TB and MDR-TB in Ethiopia.
The training’s impact went beyond print media as two popular radio stations included STREAM Stage 1 results in their daily news stories. Furthermore, Dr. Million Molla Sisay, a STREAM sub-investigator, at the Armauer Hansen Research Institute (AHRI) discussed the status of MDR-TB treatment and changes in treatment recommendations. The report was broadcasted on a national TV station, the ETV.
With the Effective Use of Tuberculosis Data in Public Health Journalism training proposed by the St. Peter’s CAB itself, the initiative demonstrates the depth of community reach and involvement the STREAM trial and CAB facilitate. The CAB’s motivation to provide local media members with new skills exemplified the effective utilization of this training and continues to showcase growth undergone by the CAB. The input and efforts of the STREAM PIs and CABs are critical to ensure the success of continuing training programs adapted for the local context.
Through this training, reporters in Addis Ababa have sharpened their skills to utilize MDR-TB data and translate clinical research results to raise awareness about MDR-TB in their community. The STREAM sponsor, Vital Strategies, may expand the training to other STREAM sites interested in providing the same capacity-building opportunity.