Published On: 25 April 2024

Compiled by Shrivani Padayachee and Suraksha Chirunt

THINKers from the Clinical Trial Unit (CTU) in Hillcrest, South Africa, have been visiting and building relationships with Department of Health facilities as part of the TB ALLIANCE NC-009 trial-related activities. The team was therefore invited to attend two World TB Day events in March, where they were given the opportunity to speak about clinical research and the NC009 trial – as the site is actively recruiting participants with drug-sensitive TB from the community.

The first team of THINKers attended an event at Wyebank clinic on March 25. Clinic patients appreciated the informative presentations from Wyebank clinic staff, the Zenzele Action Group based at Wyebank clinic, and the THINK CTU team. The event raised awareness about TB, the importance of screening for TB, treatment options, and the potential consequences of not taking TB treatment as prescribed. The THINK CTU team highlighted the importance and benefits of conducting TB research in our community, as well as community participation in clinical trials. Information on the TB ALLIANCE NC-009 trial was also shared. The THINK team further engaged with the Zenzele Action Group to strengthen and enhance collaborative outreach efforts, to ensure asymptomatic and symptomatic patients in the Wyebank community are linked to care at the facility.

The second team of THINKers attended the TB awareness day held at the Hlengisizwe Community Health Centre on the March 27. Jenalle Anthonypillai, one of our THINK interns, joined the CTU team for the event. The hour-long programme consisted of various educational talks by the Department of Health staff members and other NGOs – including THINK. Patients were encouraged to test for TB, and information on the signs and symptoms of TB, the relationship between TB and HIV, and adherence and compliance and clinical trials that were being conducted in the area, was communicated. The THINK team highlighted the work done by THINK to date, as well as the current TB ALLIANCE NC-009 trial’s entry criteria and associated requirements. After each talk, the NDOH staff members asked questions to the patients pertaining to the talks, and handed out little gifts for the correct answers. It was a remarkable experience engaging and educating the community – who seemed excited and interested.