From Ebola to Hope: My Experience as a Nurse Learning to Conduct Trials on Infectious Diseases in Liberia 11 April 2017
In April 2016, I was glad to have the opportunity to apply as a trainee in the
SELeCT Project (Strengthening Laboratory Capacity at St. Joseph’s Catholic hospital for Clinical Trials). As a trained Registered Nurse, I knew that my involvement with this project could make a great impact in my professional career. I could gain knowledge in best practice in clinical research and acquire skills to disseminate this knowledge to my colleagues and co-workers.
I was glad to have the opportunity to apply as a trainee in the SELeCT Project of ISGlobal
Research seems so big and difficult if you are new to the subject. At college we practiced research. Mostly, we did prevalence studies and not much emphasis was put in internationally recognized quality standards for conducting health research. The training by ISGlobal on Good Clinical and Laboratory Practices (GCLP) was a wonderful experience. We often confuse GCLP with clinical practice but with the knowledge I gained, I was able to help my colleagues to clearly see the distinction. The project has also built my capacity to become a trainer on the principles and
fundaments of informed consent process, a vital aspect of any clinical trial. In August 2016 and February 2017, I had the great chance to become a co-facilitator in two ISGlobal-led GCLP Workshops in Monrovia (Liberia) and Koforidua (Ghana) respectively.
The project has built my capacity to become a trainer on the principles and fundaments of informed consent process, a vital aspect of any clinical trial
In November 2016, I had the unique opportunity to attend the 8th EDCTP Forum in Lusaka (Zambia). Under the motto of
‘Defeating Poverty-related Diseases in Africa’, the Forum aimed not only to discuss the discovery of new treatments, but also to support the entire ‘pipeline’ in which a new product is tested and finally brought to the point where it can be used in routine health care. The speakers at the Forum’s opening sessions stressed that Africa and Europe are equal partners in EDCTP and called upon African countries to engage fully with the programme and make their voices heard in deciding on the priorities of health research. EDCTP’s core belief in the value of partnerships is to be applauded but should be taken much further, so that organizations involved in the fight against poverty-related diseases work together not just on short-term individual projects but at a strategic level. In recognizing the importance of encouraging and mentoring Sub-Saharan African female scientists in their careers, the EDCTP has created an Outstanding Female Scientist Award for world-class female researchers residing in sub-Saharan Africa. As a young Liberian female researcher interested in tropical medicine research, all this is inspirational to me.
I was moved by the keynote address of Professor
Marcel Tanner, the EDCTP High Representative North and a legendary figure in tropical medicine research, where he said that “EDCTP needs to address a wide range of issues – not just treatment but also diagnosis, disease surveillance and programmes intended to eliminate certain infections. Changing situations, for example the appearance of new diseases and climate change must also be taken into consideration.” I also had the privilege of meeting experts over lunch, exchange knowledge and insights with them, and build networking opportunities. At the Forum I also had the opportunity to meet Núria Casamitjana, Director or Training and Education at ISGlobal, who provides direct support to all training activities carried out in SELeCT, and discuss with her the progress we have made towards conducting health research.
My thanks and appreciation goes to the management of St. Joseph’s Catholic Hospital for giving me the opportunity to enrol as a trainee in the SELeCT Project
my thanks and appreciation goes to the management of St. Joseph’s Catholic Hospital for giving me the opportunity to enrol as a trainee in the SELeCT Project, to the EDCTP for the sponsorship they awarded me to attend the Eight EDCTP Forum, and to all the ISGlobal team. I can assure my sponsors that the knowledge gained at the Forum will be disseminated among my colleagues and will contribute to improve our research capacities.
Note by Guillermo Martinez, operations manager coordinator of SELeCT:
Christine K.Tarr Attia is the Nursing Director at the St Joseph's Catholic Hospital in Monrovia, Liberia. A MSc Public Health and Epidemiology student, Christine is enthusiastic about health research and, since February 2016, one of the trainees in good clinical practice and research methodologies thanks to the SELeCT Project. SELeCT is an adventure led by ISGlobal, in partnership with the St Joseph's Catholic Hospital and Juan Ciudad Foundation, that aims to build capacities in research on infectious diseases in a post-Ebola Liberia.