Having tuberculosis can be imprisoning in so many ways. The symptoms. The stigma. The endless stream of medicines. The isolation from family and friends, work and school. The sheer duration of treatment. It’s a brutal disease that measures its awful toll in months and years.
What does a car wash have to do with TB vaccines? Effective, genuine community engagement is key to the success of any clinical trial. And that is certainly true for TB vaccines, where we work with some surprising stakeholders to make progress.
Beyond the central hospitals and district facilities of Malawi, there are “Healthy Centers.” These rural outposts serve thousands in extraordinarily resource-challenged settings. Yesterday’s visit to Migowi was to a Healthy Center, where just a handful of nurses and staff are the only healthcare providers available for a catchment area of hundreds of square kilometers.