Training activities have been a cornerstone of the ScreenTB Capacity Strengthening programme. They have been implemented in various forms, through online webinars, on-the go and in parallel to the research & clinical trial activities as well as through specific on-site workshops and site visits.
Highlights of ScreenTB Training Activities:
ScreenTB partner institution University of Namibia (UNAM) benefitted from a specific clinical capacity building and training workshop. The training took place at UNAM’s School of Medicine Campus in Windhoek from 21 February to 10 March 2017.
The UNAM research lab was keen on developing the set-up of the laboratory’s documentation system, sample flow symmetry between projects and staff, general protocol development for the laboratory, as well as training of staff in order to conform to international standards of Good Clinical Laboratory Practices (GCLP). The management team of the clinical research laboratory used the opportunity during the early stages of the development of the lab activities to provide good ground onto which further studies and activities can be built. As a result, the UNAM laboratory is now equipped to perform sample collection of various types of human biological samples and processing it. This is supported by trained staff as well as a custom-made documentation system providing intact chain-of custody, and documentation-, sample- and data security, in order to ensure high quality and trusted sample material. Furthermore, the laboratory now has the potential to perform basic immune- and molecular experiments including bead-based cell isolations, cell culture, ELISA, DNA- and RNA isolations, PCR and QPCR, which will be exploited in the near future in order to perform more local studies on site. In addition, staff was trained to develop further management programs which include risk assessment, quality control and creating further documentation should it be required in future.
UNAM has now the potential to grow its research capacity in a setting were HIV and TB are still major health priorities. The lab and clinical research unit will be capable to attract more studies and funding as a result of the consultation, the personnel trained, and the research infrastructures implemented.
Online training webinars on project and financial management were implemented at the beginning of the project. The two workshops were tailored to the specific needs and requirements of ScreenTB partners and featured information on the EDCTP in general, on the specifics of the ScreenTB project, contractual issues, financial regulations, reporting, project management mechanisms and internal structures and procedures in ScreenTB. The training was interactive, i.e. participants had the opportunity to ask questions and have them answered directly. Both sessions were recorded, and the recording was made available via the project intranet. The same training was offered on two different days, to allow maximum outreach and facilitate the participation of a maximum of participants from the various sites.
Site visits & strategic capacity building
A number of capacity building and strategic planning meetings with different members of UNAM research staff and financial administration were conducted in conjunction with the Year 2 Annual Meeting. These meetings aimed at thoroughly prepare the UNAM team for the upcoming first reporting as well as to help plan and set up a general system of managing research grants at UNAM. The jointly developed workflows and agreements were designed to optimally support the scientists involved in international research projects while catering to the needs and requirements of the different funding programmes as well as UNAM management.