Linly Seyama, MS, RN, is a study and community engagement coordinator for Blantyre Clinical Research Site (CRS) in Blantyre, Malawi. She joined the CRS in 2001 and has been instrumental in the recruitment and retention of participants at the site. Linly completed her master’s degree in social development and health at Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh, Scotland.
How did you first get involved with the HPTN?
I first got involved back in 2001 when I joined the Blantyre CRS as a community engagement coordinator. The main studies at the time were HIVNET 024 and HPTN 052. My role was focused on recruitment and retention, as well as engaging the community.
What do you find most challenging about the work you do in support of the HPTN?
Translating science into layman’s language during recruitment and dissemination of study results is a challenge. Another challenge is helping the community understand the process for drug approval. Most people do not know the approval process and feel researchers do not want to release new products.
What do you think will change about HIV prevention over the next five years?
There will be more HIV prevention strategies available. However, there will still be more work needed to meet the needs of populations deemed at risk because one size does not fit all.
What do you wish other people knew about your work?
Clinical research remains key to the improvement of health services, in terms of testing new methods of diagnosing, preventing and treating diseases. Therefore, there is a need for diverse stakeholders to come together and support clinical trials in any form.
What might someone be surprised to know about you?
My day starts as early as 4:30 a.m. I automatically wake up as if there is an alarm; I always find something to do to get out of my bed.
What do you do when you aren't working?
I like watching football (soccer); it is one of the most refreshing sporting activities. Since I was a teenager, I have been a fan of one local and one international team.