In an effort to ensure excellence in spirometry and to maximize the amount and quality of the spirometry data in the TB Sequel study, The Klinikum der Universität München Division for Infectious Diseases and Tropical Medicine created a unique opportunity for spirometry training, retraining and review at each of the four study sites being Johannesburg (South Africa), Mbeya (Tanzania), Maputo (Mozambique) and Banjul (The Gambia). Existing staff who had undergone spirometry training at the start of the study in 2017 were given the opportunity for re-training. At the same time new staff were given the opportunity to undertake the Certificate of Competence in Foundational Spirometry or take informal training in the clinic setting. Additionally, 200 tests from each site were reviewed and feedback given to the spirometry technicians, study doctors and principal investigators.
In the last week of July, I visited the first of the four study sites in Johannesburg at the Clinical HIV Research Unit (CHRU). This site chose to receive a more informal spirometry training approach rather than a formal certificate of competence course. My time was spent with the 3 spirometry techicians, Patricia, Patience and Aletta working together on the job in the practical of spirometry in the mornings and then covering the applicable theoretical concepts in the afternoons and going through spirometry tests on file to discuss test validity and how to do things better.
Time was also spent with the study doctors reviewing the site spirometry data and learning from each other whilst we reviewed the curves. We were also able to see where slight tweaks and changes could be made to our study spirometry protocol.
I left the site with a good feeling about progress being made in the right direction and look forward to continuing to walk this journey with the TB Sequel team.
Thank you Mohammed, Victoria, Jaclyn, Patricia, Patience and Aletta for the time spent together. Special thanks to Mpho for IT assistance.