Community is more like a spider’s web, made up of many different people, who can look, feel and behave differently from each other but linked because they share something in common.

Community Education

Primary goal

  • Increase community awareness of prevention efforts in research and development.
  • Develop and strengthen relationships with community stakeholders.
  • Reduce misconceptions about the pandemics, prevention measures, clinical trials, and treatment.
  • To partner with community-based organizations and to promote awareness around Primary Health Care.

Different Strategies for Different Areas

  • Perform baseline survey to asses willingness to participate (Evaluate the level and approach on which we could start our CE).
  • One-on-one small group contacts.
  • Mass awareness events.
  • Sector meetings.
  • High traffic volume areas.
  • Large community meetings.

General Community Activities

General Activities

  • Visits to community organisations.
  • Those represented and not represented in CAB, including schools.
  • Regular planned visits (using database).

General Education & Outreach

  • One public outreach event per month.
  • General education.
  • Arranged in collaboration with CAB.
  • Health calendar activities.

Political Support & Barriers Conducting Trials

  • MERCLINCO has an excellent relationship with both the Department of Health (DOH) and the community.
  • Approvals granted from Department of Health to recruit from local clinics, if applicable.
  • Documentation needed for approval:
    Central or Local Ethics approval letter,
    SAHPRA approval letter (Approval timelines about 2-3 weeks).
  • Usually, no barriers.

Ensuring Community Involvement and Participation

  • Encourage communities to become involved and participate in this process.
  • Encourage and invite the community to be an active partner and participant in this process.
  • Give the community access to as much info as possible so that they can make informed decisions.
  • Educate the community about trial processes and standards (sensitise) communities.

Our Model

  • Ensure dynamic or strong involvement – collaboration and empowerment.
  • The degree of involvement should ideally be sufficient to enable partnership between us and the community.
  • Vision for our society – working in a mutually beneficial and meaningful partnership.
  • Strive towards the achievement of an equal partnership.

Focal Points for Participation/Involvement Approached on a Sectoral Basis

  • Regional
  • Provincial
  • Local trial site community.
  • Some sectors are prioritised, depending on our needs.
  • Broad involvement – aiming to reach as many as possible.

On-going Consultation With Community

  • Education and Awareness activities
  • Meetings and Forums
  • Events and Public gatherings
  • Church presentations
  • Group sessions
  • Radio Interviews
  • Stake holders in communities:
    Faith Based Organisation,
    Community Based Organisation,
    Community leaders, Youth sectors
    Traditional healers,
    Business & Labour sectors,
    Tertiary Institutions, Schools

Community Advisory Board

  • Has been established in 2019.
  • Actively involved in the community.
  • Diverse membership.
  • Protect and respect the community.
  • Contribute to addressing and resolving grievances about research process.
  • Committed to dedicate their time.
  • Investigator and Coordinator feedback very important to keep them informed.

Role of CAB

  • Help ensure community concerns are adequately addressed in informed consent documents & the overall consent process, including language & cultural sensitivity.
  • Represent the diversity of individuals that are infected/affected and the concerns of those communities.
  • Help to identify emerging research needs and identify gaps.
  • Advise on the site’s community education programs.
  • Advise on site recruitment and retention activities.
  • Advise on strategies for dissemination of research results to the community.
  • Ask and respond to questions.