STREAM Clinical Trial begins community engagement in Uganda in preparation for trial enrolment

The STREAM Clinical Trial is set to begin patient enrolment in a new trial site in Uganda shortly. In preparation for this, the STREAM team held initial meetings to ensure local staff follow the trial’s commitment to involve the community and civil society and engage with stakeholders to establish a community advisory board (CAB). 

Dr Conradie, an investigator with many years of experience with HIV and tuberculosis (TB) research, travelled to the Kampala site on 12 and 13 July to begin the process. The first day consisted of workshops and role-play exercises with local staff to practice various scenarios for communicating with interested parties about the trial. 

On the second day, community members attended a planning meeting with the aim of establishing a CAB and drafting a work plan. Over 30 people attended, including members of the TB directorate, TB programme managers, healthcare workers, a chaplain and four survivors of multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB).

“I was struck yet again by the courage required to simply survive MDR-TB treatment. One young man stated that he would not wish it on his worst enemy. Another talked about the stigma he suffered in the community and how people backed away from him when they found out about his diagnosis, even after he had been cured”, said Dr Conradie.

The two days ended with several participants forming and volunteering to sit on the CAB for STREAM. Members are now working to define its upcoming activities as the trial prepares to begin recruiting patients in Uganda. The CAB will ensure trial participants’ best interests are protected and work with community members to make sure they are well informed on all aspects of their treatment throughout the trial.