Ethics & Engagement across the Wellcome Trust Major Overseas Programmes

Featured Project: How are messages about HIV self-testing reproduced as they travel through communities?

Mr Rodrick Sambakunsi is a 2012 Global Health Bioethics Fellow


I joined Malawi Liverpool Wellcome Trust on 1st February, 2011, working as a Senior Community liaison Officer for a cluster randomised trial of HIT TB Hard study. Before joining MLW, I worked for several community development organizations whose main objective is poverty reduction and my responsibilities revolved around community mobilization. I hold a Diploma in Human Resources Management, a Certificate in Health and Social Care and have done a lot of on job trainings in child development, conflict and Children, Gender and Development, Training for transformation, Participatory rural development and Training of Trainers and most recently Good Clinical Practice, (GCP).

Project Title: How are messages about HIV self-testing reproduced as they travel through communities?

HIV Self-testing is a new concept in Malawi, and Malawi Liverpool Wellcome Trust through Hit TB Hard Study is implementing a community based HIV/TB intervention whereby resident community counselors are providing test kits to community members to either do an HIV-self-test or a supervised HIV self-test.

 This project aims at exploring how messages about HIV self-testing travel through community networks. The research will be conducted in and around urban Blantyre where HIV/TB intervention is currently taking place. Participants will be traced through a series of social networks, taking three main starting points (1. attendance at a recent MLW Science Café, 2. attendance at a community sensitization meeting either at the start or during the HIV/TB intervention or 3. being a Community Counsellor within the TB/HIV intervention study) to identify an initial sample frame.

 This project takes a broad view of the meaning of community engagement and emphasises the need for research to understand community responses to medical research interventions and the introduction of novel science technologies.  We  hope that this small research study will provide an opportunity to further develop the MLW communication of science programme, linking our strengths in the practice of community engagement with our strengths in social science research. 


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