Author(s): Zielinski C, Kebede D, Mbondji PE, Sanou I, Kouvividila W,
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Abstract OBJECTIVE: To describe the state of research ethics policies and practices in health research institutions in sub-Saharan African countries. DESIGN: A structured questionnaire was used to solicit information on research ethics from health research institutions. SETTING: Forty-two sub-Saharan African countries. PARTICIPANTS: Key informants from the health research institutions. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Existence of institutional ethics review policies and mechanisms. RESULTS: About half (51\%) of respondent institutions reported having policies on research ethics and 58\% had written policies requiring that researchers obtain informed consent of research participants. About one-third of respondent institutions (34\%) had established ethics review committees, 42\% required that studies went through ethics review committees and 46\% had linkages with national or regional ethics organisations. Regarding operating procedures for ethics review committees, 53\% had adopted standard operating procedures. Less than one-quarter of respondent institutions reported having policies in place to monitor ongoing research. Of the institutions that monitored ongoing research, 34\% did an annual ethical review and 74\% required a periodic written report. Only 36\% provided any type of ethics training for staff, including those conducting health research and those who were not members of the ethics review committee. CONCLUSIONS: There are substantial gaps in the capacity of health research institutions in the WHO African Region to undertake ethical review of studies before, during and after studies conducted. There is a need to strengthen such capacity in order to ensure the wellbeing of individuals enrolled in studies and that of communities that host these studies. © The Royal Society of Medicine.
This article was published in J R Soc Med
and referenced in Journal of Clinical Research & Bioethics