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.

STREAM Community Engagement

CE is an important part of the STREAM trial, which is being implemented by STREAM Community Advisory Boards (CABs) at all 13 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.

STREAM Uganda CAB hold outreach event at taxi rank, Kampala.
STREAM trial community outreach event at a taxi rank in Kampala, Uganda

Dr Ezio Tavora Dos Santos Filho, the STREAM Community Engagement Coordinator from REDETB, 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 completed more than 30 trainings about TB and TB research. These training sessions enable CE participants to deliver accurate information about TB and the STREAM trial, and equip them to participate in the research cycle. STREAM CABs also had held more than 175 meetings to plan their activities and provide feedback on the trial to the study team, as well as 100 outreach events with affected community members. STREAM outreach activities play an important role in raising awareness about TB, research and STREAM, and provide a venue for TB screening. This year, STREAM CABs have also increased their participation in the national and international policy-making process, helping to ensure the views of those most affected by TB are considered by decision makers.

Find more Community Engagement resources.