The CHRU Community Advisory Board

Independent body, watchdog and patient advocate

Community Advisory Boards (CABs) are a critical component of the CHRU’s community engagement strategy and represent an important link between local communities and the Clinical Research Sites (CRS).

Effective community engagement structures have been able to support recruitment and adherence of participants in clinical trials. CHRU has fostered close working relationship with communities in the areas surrounding its CRSs.

Trained community members are also part of the CABs.

The successful, efficient and ethical implementation of clinical trials requires strong community engagement. Voluntary informed consent is the cornerstone of health research ethics. CHRU ensures that all the ethical and legal requirements for voluntary informed consent for clinical research participation are fulfilled. CHRU also adheres to the South African Guidelines for Good Practice in the Conduct of Clinical Trials with Human Participants in South Africa.

As well as working according to the highest standards of Good Clinical Practice (GCP), CHRU complies with the requirements of other relevant regulations such as those set out by South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA).

We have established an active CAB whose focus is to promote community engagement and educating community members about our clinical trials.

The CAB provides health education to communities, with a particular focus on the diseases that CHRU’s clinical trials focus on. These include HIV/AIDS, prevalent cancers like breast, skin and cervical cancer and TB.

The CAB facilitates contributions from communities to the research process. As an advisory structure, it ensures seamless communication between researchers and communities. This improves public understanding of clinical trials as the science of trials is clearly explained.

The CAB is an independent body with a constitution that needs to be adhered to. It is independent of CHRU and acts as a watch dog to ensure that studies proceed properly and trial participants’ concerns are accommodated.

Members of the CAB reflect a diverse mix of experiences, profiles and skills, and have cultural insight into the communities participating in the clinical trials. CAB members also provide leadership to some community members.

The CAB consists of:

  • Independent doctors
  • Social workers
  • Trial participants
  • Community based organisations (CBOs)
  • Non-governmental organisations (NGOs)
  • Faith-based organisations (FBOs)
  • Traditional healers
  • Focus groups – key populations such as sex workers, LGBTI advocates, HIV support groups, etc.

CAB members are volunteers who are trained on GCP. They advocate for participants, give feedback on cultural and religious sensitivities and raise community concerns. They also educate the community about CHRU’s clinical trials.

The CAB also follows the principles of the Belmont Report in terms of respect and justice for the participants.

CAB members advise the researchers on the feasibility and relevance of studies for their community and review trial protocols.

The CAB also help identify links to target groups for the recruitment of trial participants.

CAB meets every second month to review current and upcoming clinical trials.

A new Youth CAB has recently been established.

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