Community radio is a potent tool for raising awareness about medical research and can be used to promote recruitment into clinical trials
Background: During the Microbicides Development Program (MDP) 301, a clinical trial of a candidate microbicide amongst women in Johannesburg, South Africa, we used community radio to promote awareness of the trial, to inform community members about specific medical research procedures and terminologies, and to stimulate dialogue between researchers and local citizens.
Methods: We used mixed methods to undertake a retrospective analysis of the social responses to the radio shows, focusing specifically on recruitment and participation in the MDP301 trial. We collected quantitative data that describes the themes and listener responses, the costs per broadcast, and the impact of the radio broadcasts on trial recruitment. Qualitative data on local reactions to the shows was gleaned from in-depth interviews with trial participants.
Results: Over a seven-year period, 205 individual broadcasts were made on two separate community radio stations. Show themes were either specifically related to medical research issues (36%), or focused on general health issues (46%), and sexual and reproductive health, including HIV prevention (18%). 403 listeners made telephone calls to the radio station, and 12% of women enrolled as participants in MDP301 (n = 9, 385) reported that they had first heard about the trial from the radio. Qualitative interviews (n = 401) with female MDP301 participants highlighted the effects of the radio shows in making women aware of the trial, impressing them with the importance of health screening and knowledge, legitimizing trial participation, and stimulating dialogue between trial participants and their male partners.
Conclusions: Community radio is a potent tool for raising awareness and local knowledge about medical research and, in addition to other methodologies, can be used to promote recruitment into clinical trials. We suggest that future HIV prevention trials consider an investment in community radio beyond recruitment advertisements that incorporates this into the broader community engagement plan as a key element of Good Participatory Practice in clinical trial settings.
This research is supported by the Department for International Development’s STRIVE Programme which is led by London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM)
Medeossi, B.J.; Stadler, J.; Delany-Moretlwe, S. I heard about this study on the radio using community radio to strengthen Good Participatory Practice in HIV prevention trials. BMC Public Health (2014) 14 (1) 876. [DOI: 10.1186/1471-2458-14-876]