Background: The Microbicides Development Programme, a clinical trial researching the vaginal microbicide gel PRO 2000/5, has encountered challenges in community mobilization. It was for this reason that it was decided to recruit and train 10 participants to help sensitize one community. This study assessed the effectiveness of using participant peer educators. Methods: The 10 participant peer educators went for door to door sensitizations for one week in one residential community. Results: The total number of people spoken to was 760; 420 of these were women. 85% (357) showed interest in discussing with participant peer educators because they wanted to know their experiences with the study gel. 10% (42) thought that it was good for MDP staff to work together with peer educators so that they could explain the scientific aspects of the study. 5% (21) were still not convinced. Conclusion: Before this exercise was done, 4 to 6 participants were typically recruited in a month from this particular community, as compared to now when there are 10 to 15 in a month. It is evident that the community feels more comfortable and secure when sensitized and encouraged by women who have used the study product. However, it is very important that the community mobilization team work together with the participant peer educators so that they are able to explain the scientific aspects of the study.
Cheelo, M. Community mobilization using participant peer educators in MDP 301 clinical trial in Mazabuka, Zambia. Presented at Microbicides 2008, New Delhi, India, 24-27 February 2008. (2008)