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Composition, training needs and independence of ethics review committees across Africa: are the gate-keepers rising to the emerging challenges?

Nyika A, Kilama W, Chilengi R, Tangwa G, Tindana P, Ndebele P, Ikingura J - J Med Ethics (2009)

Bottom Line: The high disease burden of Africa, the emergence of new diseases and efforts to address the 10/90 gap have led to an unprecedented increase in health research activities in Africa.The number of members per committee ranged from 3 to 21, with an average of 11.Consequently, AMANET is addressing the identified needs and weaknesses through a 4-year capacity-building project.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: African Malaria Network Trust, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. anyika@amanet-trust.org

ABSTRACT

Background: The high disease burden of Africa, the emergence of new diseases and efforts to address the 10/90 gap have led to an unprecedented increase in health research activities in Africa. Consequently, there is an increase in the volume and complexity of protocols that ethics review committees in Africa have to review.

Methods: With a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the African Malaria Network Trust (AMANET) undertook a survey of 31 ethics review committees (ERCs) across sub-Saharan Africa as an initial step to a comprehensive capacity-strengthening programme. The number of members per committee ranged from 3 to 21, with an average of 11. Members of 10 institutional committees were all from the institution where the committees were based, raising prima facie questions as to whether independence and objectivity could be guaranteed in the review work of such committees.

Results: The majority of the committees (92%) cited scientific design of clinical trials as the area needing the most attention in terms of training, followed by determination of risks and benefits and monitoring of research. The survey showed that 38% of the ERC members did not receive any form of training. In the light of the increasing complexity and numbers of health research studies being conducted in Africa, this deficit requires immediate attention.

Outcome: The survey identified areas of weakness in the operations of ERCs in Africa. Consequently, AMANET is addressing the identified needs and weaknesses through a 4-year capacity-building project.

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Related in: MedlinePlus

Sources of funds for 31 ethics review committees surveyed.
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MET-35-03-0189-f02: Sources of funds for 31 ethics review committees surveyed.

Mentions: Membership of 10 committees was entirely by staff employed at the institution, while the rest had varying involvement of members from “outside” the parent institution, such as community members, local universities, religious organisations, non-governmental organisations, civic organisations and professional associations. A large proportion (77%) of the surveyed committees relied on funds received from the institutions where they were based in 2005 and 2006. Figure 2 shows that a relatively smaller proportion of respondents received levies on projects reviewed, whereas application fees were a source of funding for a much smaller number of committees, about 20% for both years.


Composition, training needs and independence of ethics review committees across Africa: are the gate-keepers rising to the emerging challenges?

Nyika A, Kilama W, Chilengi R, Tangwa G, Tindana P, Ndebele P, Ikingura J - J Med Ethics (2009)

Sources of funds for 31 ethics review committees surveyed.
© Copyright Policy - openaccess
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC2643018&req=5

MET-35-03-0189-f02: Sources of funds for 31 ethics review committees surveyed.
Mentions: Membership of 10 committees was entirely by staff employed at the institution, while the rest had varying involvement of members from “outside” the parent institution, such as community members, local universities, religious organisations, non-governmental organisations, civic organisations and professional associations. A large proportion (77%) of the surveyed committees relied on funds received from the institutions where they were based in 2005 and 2006. Figure 2 shows that a relatively smaller proportion of respondents received levies on projects reviewed, whereas application fees were a source of funding for a much smaller number of committees, about 20% for both years.

Bottom Line: The high disease burden of Africa, the emergence of new diseases and efforts to address the 10/90 gap have led to an unprecedented increase in health research activities in Africa.The number of members per committee ranged from 3 to 21, with an average of 11.Consequently, AMANET is addressing the identified needs and weaknesses through a 4-year capacity-building project.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: African Malaria Network Trust, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. anyika@amanet-trust.org

ABSTRACT

Background: The high disease burden of Africa, the emergence of new diseases and efforts to address the 10/90 gap have led to an unprecedented increase in health research activities in Africa. Consequently, there is an increase in the volume and complexity of protocols that ethics review committees in Africa have to review.

Methods: With a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the African Malaria Network Trust (AMANET) undertook a survey of 31 ethics review committees (ERCs) across sub-Saharan Africa as an initial step to a comprehensive capacity-strengthening programme. The number of members per committee ranged from 3 to 21, with an average of 11. Members of 10 institutional committees were all from the institution where the committees were based, raising prima facie questions as to whether independence and objectivity could be guaranteed in the review work of such committees.

Results: The majority of the committees (92%) cited scientific design of clinical trials as the area needing the most attention in terms of training, followed by determination of risks and benefits and monitoring of research. The survey showed that 38% of the ERC members did not receive any form of training. In the light of the increasing complexity and numbers of health research studies being conducted in Africa, this deficit requires immediate attention.

Outcome: The survey identified areas of weakness in the operations of ERCs in Africa. Consequently, AMANET is addressing the identified needs and weaknesses through a 4-year capacity-building project.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus