The Liberia-US joint clinical research partnership otherwise known as PREVAIL has been hailed by residents and other stakeholders across Liberia for its outreach activities. This comes after months of massive advocacy and various community engagements to create more awareness and provide updates and outcomes of the research program, according to a press release from PREVAIL.
These activities attracted Liberians in their numbers to listen to the community outreach events. Prominent among the activities were the stakeholders conference, the outreach during the peace festival held on United Nations Day October 24th at the Antoinette Tubman Stadium, the one-day dialogue and research discussion with the Press Union of Liberia, and community engagements.
PREVAIL’s activities in October kicked off with a host of radio and TV talk shows that have helped to provide the necessary information to survivors and close contacts. The shows are interactive as listeners called in to get their queries and concerns addressed.
The community engagement forums, for example, were larger platforms that provided survivors and other residents, including religious, civil society leaders and organizations, the opportunity to come face to face with PREVAIL scientists and SMC team members to answer their questions. At each meeting held in Montserrado and Margibi counties in October, participants were impressed with the information they were provided.
“I’m highly impressed with the way PREVAIL goes to the various communities to share information about the research on vaccine and Ebola survivors. The information and messages are good, they are delivered with passion by trained staff who patiently listened to all questions before providing answers,” John Flomoku, a community leader in Margibi County noted.
Aside from the many advocacy and community engagements held in October, the Social Mobilization and Communications team also hosted a dialogue and discussion with members of the Press Union of Liberia and other media executives. The forum provided information, shared recent outcomes of the various studies, and helped to change any negative perceptions that might be entrenched in the minds of members of the Liberian media.
During the discussion, PREVAIL Media Lead Hassan Kiawu provided a media strategy to the PUL officials with the hope of soliciting their support for the research and getting their members to write accurate information about the research study.
The Social Mobilization and Communications Team hosted an impressive stakeholder’s conference in Monrovia on October 17.
The conference brought together hundreds of people from diverse backgrounds. They included traditional, community and religious leaders as well as professional groups such as the Teacher’s Union, Marketing Associations and Motorcycle Unions, students and ordinary citizens.
The press release indicated that the conference lived up to expectation as it provided updates on the PREVAIL clinical research study. A member of the PREVAIL SMC team, Dr. Jestina Doe-Anderson, first provided background for the establishment of PREVAIL.
She explained that since its launch in February 2015, PREVAIL began its research program with the launch of the Vaccine Study in the same month.
She said overall, the vaccines were well tolerated and no significant differences in reported side effects were found between those who received either of the vaccines, VSV and ChAd3, or the placebo.
Dr. Moses Massaquoi, Principal Investigator for ZMapp, had earlier at a MICAT press briefing provided information on the treatment drug which was administered in Liberia to people who contracted Ebola. He said the experimental Ebola treatment drug was promising. He particularly stressed that ZMapp was first tested in the United States before it was administered in Liberia.