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Empowering youth in South Africa through the ASCENT project

21 January 2021

The ASCENT team in South Africa has completed a training for the first group of interns that will take over research specific duties from the staff of healthcare facilities. This way the healthcare workers can focus on their patients. 

Nontobeko Ndlovu, ASCENT project manager in South Africa, said they are expecting to bring in more young people as part of the research team. They will focus on administrative and other research tasks and offer daily project support to the healthcare facility’s staff. The ASCENT project aims to help Tuberculosis (TB) patients to complete their treatment successfully through Digital Adherence Technology (DAT). By generating evidence, establishing a global market and engaging stakeholders, ASCENT ultimately makes a future scale up possible, so that these digital innovations can be available to more and more people effected by TB. The ASCENT project in South Africa is implemented by The Aurum Institute.

The interns

The interns, who are young people participating in Aurum’s youth empowerment program, Youth Health Africa, were trained on protocol including project delivery, differentiated pathways and adherence counseling, as well as how to use the Everwell platform. During the intensive training, they learned how to use, handle and store DATs and how to insert SOPs and Logs. The interns were challenged to implement what they had learned practically, by doing a role-playing exercise on administering informed consent. They were also trained on good clinical practice, which is a regulatory requirement for staff involved in human research activities.

The interns will be placed at healthcare facilities taking part in the project in Pretoria and Cape Town.

The informed consent training will also be added to the tablets which the healthcare facility staff will be using to capture data, as a quick and easily available reference should they need to take a patient through the process.

KNCV Tuberculosis Foundation is implementing ASCENT together with The Aurum InstituteLondon School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and PATH.