File picture: Jason Lee/Reuters

JOHANNESBURG - The Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) on Tuesday said it will be conducting a joint TB and HIV pilot study with its partners in KwaZulu-Natal between August 26 and September 20.

HSRC spokesperson Adziliwi Nematandani said the purpose of the pilot study would be to determine the feasibility of conducting a larger joint Tuberculosis and Human Immunodeficiency Virus (TB/HIV) survey. 

 Nematandani said the project will determine survey uptake of combined HIV and TB testing, assess data quality of collected interview and bio marker measures, estimate the costs of a (scaled-up) joint population-based TB/ HIV impact assessment (PHIA) survey, and to document operational lessons learned to inform scale up of future joint TB-HIV surveys.

The survey will be taking place in two communities, Marburg and The Ridge, and will consist of two stages.

"Household stage, where the head of the household will be asked to answer a question about the household.

"All eligible individuals up to 500 adults plus their accompanying children (300 children < 15 years per cluster) will be invited to attend the survey hub for further survey activities. In each cluster, all households will be selected for inclusion into the pilot survey," said Nematandani.

Nematandani said the people who will be invited to participate will be people of all ages who have slept in that respective household for at least five nights of the previous two weeks.

"Hub stage, where all participants who have been invited and issued an invitation slip, will be asked to participate by completing an individual questionnaire and having various health checks including screening for TB and a HIV test."

"Where participants need to be referred to treatment and support, they will be linked to a local clinic," said Nematandani.

Nematandani said the survey will be anonymous, meaning that all personal identifiers will be delinked once the survey has been completed. The study aims to reach a total of 1,600 people. 

Community members were requested to welcome field workers, identified by their branded bibs and name tags, into their homes, and to support them in this process.

African News Agency (ANA)