STREAM Trial expands community engagement for participants in India

The STREAM Stage 2 community advisory board (CAB) in Ahmedabad, India, recently began home visits to provide crucial psychosocial support for STREAM participants and their families, as part of their community engagement activities. These activities form part of the STREAM clinical trial researchers’ and affected communities’ commitment to work together to improve awareness of tuberculosis (TB).

Community engagement activities are planned and led by the STREAM CABs, and the two STREAM sites in India - the National Institute for Research in Tuberculosis in Chennai and B. J. Medical College in Ahmedabad - have now integrated community engagement into their approach to a clinical trial. In their annual work plan, set during early meetings, members of the Ahmedabad CAB decided to prioritise home visits to trial participants.

Home visits provide CAB members with the opportunity to give direct support to trial participants and discuss their experience of TB and the STREAM trial. They not only provide much needed support for affected families, but also offer CAB members insight into each family’s unique situation. This is invaluable for both CAB members and families, as it means that the support offered to trial participants and their families can be tailored to their needs.

Community Engagement is critical for clinical trials because it helps to create a collaborative relationship between the community and trial implementers. It establishes a direct feedback link between the two groups and helps ensure that affected communities are aware of the objectives of the trial, while also understanding how it will be implemented. Community engagement also creates a sense of trial ownership in affected communities, and prepares them to receive and disseminate trial results when they become available.  

The STREAM trial, initiated by The Union in 2012 with the Medical Research Council Clinical Trials Unit at UCL, is the world’s first multi-country randomised clinical trial to test the efficacy, safety and economic impact of shortened multidrug-resistant TB treatment regimens.

STREAM’s community engagement activities are supported by USAID and are expected to continue for the duration of the trial.

Find more information on TREAT TB and community engagement, here.