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  1. Matthew Greenall permalink
    24 May, 2010 1:39 pm

    Thanks for this really interesting piece and well done for getting the right message out so effectively.

    I’d be interested to know a bit more. For instance, did you have public health officials (e.g. national AIDS programme) involved in the study, and did they play a role in helping/hindering dissemination of these results? What sort of strategies did you employ in relation to these officials? Secondly, I’d be interested to know if you worked with men who have sex with men to decide on how best to disseminate the results, and if they themselves were involved in the dissemination work.

    I’m interested in these dimensions because something that concerns me is not only how to ensure study results are well disseminated in the first place, but also how to ensure over the long term that they continue to be properly cited and used, and don’t get used against vulnerable or marginalised communities. Establishing that MSM – or any other marginalised group – are at high risk for HIV is important, but there are cases where this information has been used to increase rather than decrease oppression, so I think communications strategies need to deal not only with making sure the press understand the facts in the short term, but also with making sure that the conclusions drawn from these facts are the right ones in the longer term. I think this makes the job of communicators and researchers even more difficult.

  2. 25 May, 2010 12:48 pm

    Thanks for your interest and insights on this topic. To answer your questions, yes, the national public health officials were involved and both the Kenya National AIDS and STD Control Programme (NASCOP) and the National AIDS Control Council (NACC) supported the dissemination of the research information. We also worked with the MSMs and the Gay and Lesbian Coalition of Kenya (GALCK) who were very instrumental in disseminating the results within their communities and even to the press!

    Two weeks after the attack on our clinic, we organized a scientific conference to discuss the surveillance, prevention and research priorities for MSM in Kenya. This conference brought together national and international public health officials and academicians from Kenya, Uganda, the Netherlands, U.K and Thailand.

    We are currently using our study findings to explain that MSMs are not an isolated lot but part of a higher risk community, involving both men and women, through our community engagement work with the elders and traditional leaders in Mtwapa. We feel it is not just the press who need to draw the right conclusions from these facts in the long term, but also the communities where MSMs live. I couldn’t agree more- the work of communicators and researchers on this one, is a tough one!

  3. Dr Othieno O J permalink
    17 Jun, 2010 12:20 pm

    Thanks for the good work, communicating science was my dream ever since i joined my undergraduate course in veterinary medicine. I know it is a challenge that we shall over come.

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