Date of event: 27 January 2017
Venue: Annah Legoale Community Hall, Lethabong
Purpose: HVTN 702/UHAMBO trial launch in Rustenburg, Bojanala District.
Programme Director: Mr Samuel Ditsele & Mr Samuel Maroele
Article by: Thovhakale Aluwani
Attendance registers were being taken for all visitors entering the event hall. Ms Lerato, Letabo, Shirley and Bongi took on the responsibility to make sure that the attendance register was completed successfully by all attendees.
The event was opened by a prayer from Revenant Dube.
Magakwa, a Setso traditional dance group graced the audience with a beautiful Setswana dance. The dance kept people on their toes as they could not stop cheering, whistling and ululate for the dancers.
Sister Octavia presented the candlelit ceremony where people took a moment of silence in remembering those who have lost their lives and those are still living with the HIV infection.
One of the Research Assistants Ms Keneilwe Msiya took a moment to welcome the Guests; Director of Clinical Trials Unit [ Dr Vinodh Edward ] accompanied by Clinical Research Leader [Dr William Brumskine] and everyone who managed to come for the event.
Welcoming & Introduction Of Guests
The guests were welcomed and encouraged to ask any questions freely. Attending stakeholders were also welcomed.
Purpose Of The Day
Dr William Brumskine was also given a chance to present to the audience the main purpose of the day. He included the commencement of The Aurum Institute. While still touching on the purpose of the day, which is explaining to the audience about HVTN 702/UHAMBO meaning the journey of hope towards HIV prevention. He went on to explain that the journey started with the ground-breaking HIV vaccine efficacy trial conducted in Thailand called RV144 then using the results from RV144, it went on to a smaller phase 1/2 safety study called HVTN 097 then HVTN 100. HVTN 100 used a combination of an ALVAC and a protein vaccine, similar to what was given in RV144. Now the launch for HVTN 702 is to build on the results of previous HIV vaccine trials to develop a safer licensed HIV vaccine. He also mentioned various HIV prevention methods. After the presentation, questions were asked related to UHAMBO and promotional materials were given to the audience who answered the questions correctly.
Introduction of Vaxie
Jeffrey Chihota entertained the audience and made the audience shout Vaxie as he called Vaxie to the front. He entertained the audience further by engaging them in some very fun exercises including countdown, selecting three audiences to come to the front to dance and also handing out promotional gifts.
As part of making sure that the community understood what HVTN 702/UHAMBO is all about and what it might bring to the people, a drama group from Lethabong called Legae Arts Institution who demonstrated what UHAMBOis, who needs to participate in the study and also emphasising the safety of participating in the study. The drama drew people’s attention and made it simple for people who did not understand the message from the presentation.
After that Ms Mosweu took the opportunity to explain more about UHAMBO.
Message Of Support
A message of support was delivered by different stakeholders ie; CHAPS and Department of Health Representatives. SR Lebo Tshose who is the Sub-District HIV/AIDS coordinator for the Department of Health encouraged the attendees to take a step in the fight against HIV/AIDS. A representative from CHAPS also took the opportunity to say some words of support and encouragement in HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment and also spoke about the services that they render. Mr Thuso a representative for CAG, also gave a message of support by encouraging people to take part in the study.
Vote Of Thanks
Ward Councillor Mr koketso Morei who is the former CAG member delivered a message of thanks, thanking the community for coming to the event, Rustenburg Aurum site for the continuous good relationship that it has with his ward and also for the work that Rustenburg Aurum site is doing in HIV/TB prevention and treatment. The Counsellor also encouraged people to participate in research trials emphasising that due to the good relationship they have with Aurum Institute, he believes that Aurum Institute will not bring any trial that will be harmful to the people. Sr Seba Kekana also thanked the guest for attending the event.