227822 Building a Field Team: Training Women in Rural South Africa to Collect Epidemiological Research Data

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Mwenda Kudumu, BS , Public Health Research, Social & Scientific Systems, Durham, NC
Janet Archer, BSc, Msc , Public Health Research, Social & Scientific Systems, Durham, NC, Afghanistan
M.S. Bornman, MBChB DSc MD , Department of Urology, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa
Pamela Schwingl, PhD , Public Health Research, Social & Scientific Systems, Inc., Durham, NC
International research studies with limited field time depend upon qualified field staff to surmount significant cultural and language barriers. Staff from Social and Scientific Systems and University of Pretoria trained women in South Africa to collect data and maintain study protocol in a study of DDT exposure and pregnancy loss. Our experience training locally endorsed, bilingual women with high school degrees indicates that the cultural and language barriers to collecting high quality epidemiologic data internationally can be reduced. A community based advisory board, which was convened by University of Pretoria staff, assisted in the selection of local interviewers for the study population of 20-30 years old. Selected trainees attended an intensive two-week training session which incorporated both classroom-based activities and realistic field practice. The first week covered basic interviewing, research ethics, privacy and confidentiality, administration of data collection instruments, procedures for home visits, pregnancy testing, and taking weight and waist measurements. The second week provided trainees an opportunity to practice data collection skills on volunteers in real clinic and home settings. During the field practice, trainees were shadowed by observers and evaluation followed, with those showing proficiency awarded certificates in data collection for this study. Remaining challenges to collection of high quality data are discussed, as well as the impact on building community resources in local villages to assist in research projects anticipated in this malaria-endemic region.

Learning Areas:
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Describe successes and challenges of training local women in a rural international setting to collect epidemiological data.

Keywords: Training, Field Experience

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have spent the last 11 years conducting and coordinating health research studies in Africa. I am currently a study manager involved in planning the study upon which this abstract is based.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.