Capacity Building in Sub-Saharan Africa as Part of the INTENSE-TBM Project During the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Ariza-Vioque E Ello F Andriamamonjisoa H Machault V González-Martín J Calvo-Cortés MC Eholié S Tchabert GA Ouassa T Raberahona M Rakotoarivelo R Razafindrakoto H Rahajamanana L Wilkinson RJ Davis A Maxebengula M Abrahams F Muzoora C Nakigozi N Nyehangane D Nanjebe D Mbega H Kaitano R Bonnet M Debeaudrap P Miró JM Anglaret X Rakotosamimanana N Calmy A Bonnet F Ambrosioni J
Infectious diseases and therapy 2022 Jun 29; . doi: 10.1007/s40121-022-00667-z. Epub 2022 06 29
Africa Capacity building Clinical research HIV INTENSE-TBM Tuberculous meningitis


Tuberculous meningitis (TBM) is the most severe and disabling form of tuberculosis (TB), with at least 100,000 cases per year and a mortality rate of up to 50% in individuals co-infected with human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1). To evaluate the efficacy and safety of an intensified anti-tubercular regimen and an anti-inflammatory treatment, the INTENSE-TBM project includes a phase III randomised clinical trial (TBM-RCT) in four countries in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). Within this framework, we designed a comprehensive capacity-building work package ensuring all centres had, or would acquire, the ability to conduct the TBM-RCT and developing a network of skilled researchers, clinical centres and microbiology laboratories. Here, we describe these activities, identify strengths/challenges and share tools adaptable to other projects, particularly in low- and lower-middle income countries with heterogeneous settings and during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Despite major challenges, TBM-RCT initiation was achieved in all sites, promoting enhanced local healthcare systems and encouraging further clinical research in SSA. In terms of certified trainings, the achievement levels were 95% (124/131) for good clinical practice, 91% (39/43) for good clinical laboratory practice and 91% (48/53) for infection prevention and control. Platform-based research, developed as part of capacity-building activities for specific projects, may be a valuable tool in fighting future infectious diseases and in developing high-level research in Africa.

© 2022. The Author(s).