Community engagement (CE) is an ethical obligation and an integral part of TB research. It can improve trial implementation and participant outcomes by building a relationship of trust between affected communities and trial implementers. It also allows affected communities to participate in all stages of the research cycle – from setting the research agenda through to evidence-based policy change based on research results.
CE is an ethical obligation for all TB clinical trials, but can be overlooked by trial implementers. This represents a missed opportunity to establish a dialogue and relationship of trust between trial implementers and affected communities.
STREAM Community Engagement
CE is an important part of the STREAM trial, which is being implemented by STREAM Community Advisory Boards (CABs) at all 12 STREAM sites. The STREAM CABs play an important role in raising awareness of TB and the trial, and make complex information accessible to affected communities. They also provide psychosocial support to trial participants and family members, which can help improve retention and adherence rates. Finally, they act as a critical feedback link between affected communities and trial staff, sharing community views on key implementation issues.
Dr Ezio Tavora Dos Santos Filho, the STREAM Community Engagement Coordinator from REDE–TB, stressed the importance of community engagement at the 49th Union World Conference on Lung Health, stating that community engagement is a “mechanism of accountability” to ensure trials and study teams are held accountable to governments, donors, and above all, trial participants.
STREAM is committed to building sustainable CE institutions and supporting CAB activities. As of June 2018, STREAM CAB members
See the 2019 World TB Day activities organized by STREAM’s community advisory boards below.