Background Community engagement (CE) is an essential component of clinical research. In 2000, the National Institute of General Medical Sciences recommended that researchers obtain community input into all phases of research, respect communities as partners, and establish appropriate community review procedures.
Method: Aeras incorporated CE activities into all its studies and continues to seek input from communities into Aeras-conducted clinical trials.
Results In Zambia, Aeras conducts TB vaccine clinical trials in collaboration with Zambia AIDS Related Tuberculosis (ZAMBART) Project and the Centre for Infectious Disease Research in Zambia (CIDRZ). Through an established CE program communities have received information on, and provided input to, the design and conduct of clinical trials. CE has provided a very useful avenue for communication between communities where clinical trials are being conducted and researchers.
Conclusions The presentation will highlight CE activities related to TB vaccine clinical trials and their impact, and will promote discussion on the utility of CE activities in Zambia and elsewhere. The impact of funding shortfalls for CE will be discussed. As CE is an essential component of clinical trials continuous evaluation, it is important to ensure it remains effective and addresses changing knowledge and beliefs.
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