Posts Tagged ‘Joe Ali’

Research Ethics Committees in Nigeria: A Survey of Operations, Functions, and Needs

Thursday, August 31st, 2017

Abstract: Heightened global commitment to research on diseases such as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria has led to increased research over the past decade in many African countries, including Nigeria. This increase in research has led to debates about the ethics of health research in resource-poor or developing countries and has drawn further attention to existing ethical review processes. This study was undertaken to describe and benchmark the operational and organizational structures as well as functions of research ethics committees (RECs) in Nigeria. The article explores the factors that contribute to REC conformity with the Nigerian National Ethics Code and World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines for RECs. Data were collected using a self-administered, semistructured questionnaire. A descriptive analysis was conducted, and Fisher’s exact tests performed to assess associations between selected REC characteristics and the degree of conformity to applicable national and international requirements. Eighty percent of RECs (20 out of 25) had standard operating procedures, while 68% (17 out of 25) met at least quarterly and provided final review determinations within three months. RECs with committee chairs who had prior bioethics training were more likely to have operations conforming to the WHO and the Nigerian ethics guidelines. Overall, this study suggests that there is variability in the degree to which operations and functions of RECs in Nigeria conform to the Nigerian National Code and WHO guidelines.


Research Ethics Committees in Nigeria: A Survey of Operations, Functions, and Needs,. Aminu A. Yakubu, Adnan A. Hyder, Joseph Ali, and Nancy Kass. IRB: Ethics & Human Research. 2017. May-June 2017 Volume: 39, Issue: 3

A case study of researchers’ knowledge and opinions about the ethical review process for research in Botswana

Monday, November 7th, 2016

Abstract Most countries, including Botswana, have established Institutional Review Boards (IRBs) to provide oversight of research involving human beings. Although much has been published on the structure and function of IRBs around the world, there is less literature that empirically describes the perspectives of stakeholders in low- and middle-income country (LMIC) settings regarding IRB processes. In this study, we employed primarily quantitative methods to examine the perceptions of researchers at the University of Botswana (UB) about the review of research protocols by local IRBs. Data were collected using a web-based survey (SurveyMonkey). This was a preliminary effort to document some of the emerging experiences of researchers with ethics review in a context where both research and research oversight are relatively new. Findings from 85 researchers indicate that researchers recognized the need for an IRB to review all human research protocols, expressed the need for research ethics training, experienced high rates of approval at government ministries and UB, and generally believed that ethics review processes can help researchers themselves better understand and appreciate research ethics in general. Though only about one-quarter of respondents reported a more positive view of research ethics after interacting with the UB IRB, 56.5 percent reported no change. In contexts where IRBs have recently been established, it can be particularly important to document the perspectives of researchers in order to align expectations with capabilities, and identify areas where IRBs can improve operations. Future efforts to advance research ethics and ethical review in Botswana should include establishing research ethics training requirements and courses for researchers, increasing investment in IRBs and their training, further developing institutional and national research ethics policies, and formalizing agreements between IRBs and others involved in research oversight in the country to support coordinated review.

FABTP alumni reunite at 2016 World Congress of Bioethics

Thursday, November 3rd, 2016

The International Association of Bioethics (IAB) hosted the 13th World Congress of Bioethics in Edinburgh, Scotland in June 2016. The 2016 theme was: Individuals, Public Interests and Public Goods: What is the Contribution of Bioethics? Nine Fogarty alumni and affiliates attended the biennial conference and a number of them presented their research during the three-day event. The Fogarty alumni and coordinators who attended include: Joe Ali, Nicola Barsdorf, Mary Kasule, Paulina Tindana, Chris Mweemba, Dimpho Ralefala, Aminu Yakubu, Godfrey Tangwa, and Francis Masiye. The 2016 themes for the IAB’s World Congress were: Art and Ethics; Individuals, Public Interests and Public Goods; Public Health, Ethics and Law; and, of particular interest to Fogarty alumni, Global Bioethics. The next meeting of the IAB World Congress will be in 2018 in New Delhi, India.


Research Ethics Capacity Development in Africa: Exploring a Model for Individual Success

Tuesday, July 17th, 2012

Editorial: Broadening the Horizon of Research Ethics: A Health Systems Approach to Capacity Development

Tuesday, November 15th, 2011
By Joseph Ali

Capacity development for low- and middle-income countries (LMIC) in research ethics is often viewed as  something  best done by enabling individuals to be successful in the field; providing students or trainees with  sufficient  knowledge and resources to study, teach, and practice research ethics at home.  Under a traditional  ‘trainee-focused’  model of capacity development, where educational activities occur by-and-large for individual  trainees, efforts are made to focus training on those issues that are perceived to be most relevant to the context from which trainees come.  Training can therefore be of very high caliber, well resourced, and tailored.

Of course, one might rightly argue that developed country perspectives on regulations, guidelines, lessons, cases, arguments, and values that form much of the content of research ethics education have been so often articulated that, for better or worse, they have become interwoven with discourses on bioethics in the developing world.  That is to say, even when one provides instruction in research ethics by using examples (or even instructors) from developing country contexts, one brings to the discussion certain developed-world notions, metaphysical outlooks, and epistemological methods that frame the pedagogical experience.

So, while research ethics capacity development, as a researcher-focused and trainee-focused discipline has its place, it also has its limitations. Most prominently, followers of such models of capacity development are often, to put it simply, ‘not sure what to do’ with home environments – which are shaped by languages, traditions, cultures and religions, as well as educational, social, economic, institutional and political realities.  This may be expressed as reluctance to take on certain capacity development challenges associated with working with LMIC institutions to help secure ‘homes’ for trainees so they can best utilize and adapt their newly acquired skills in research ethics.

While some noteworthy advancements in research ethics in low- and middle-income countries can likely be attributed to the training of highly motivated individuals, it is increasingly becoming clear that without adequate institutional, national, and regional structures in place to foster research ethics, the field will be slow to flourish in LMIC settings.  However, before making this claim one must first be able to describe what a properly functioning research ethics system should look like, in any given context.

In recognition of this challenge, and the increased need for institutions and nations to coordinate their research ethics policies, offerings and infrastructures with their human capital and demand, Adnan Hyder MD, MPH, PhD, proposes that more work needs to be done to understand how research ethics systems operate, how they learn and develop, how they impact individuals, and how they relate to other spheres and indicators of well-being.

Dr. Hyder’s recent talk, “Institutional Capacity Development for Research Ethics Systems in Developing Countries: A Missing Link?“ (video below) makes a case for why it is important to better appreciate the complex relationships that exist between social systems, health systems, and research ethics.

: Dr. Adnan Hyder Speaks About Research and Research Ethics Systems

Related Publication:  Hyder AA, Dawson L, Bachani AG, Lavery JV. Moving from research ethics review to research ethics systems in low-income and middle-income countries. Lancet 2009;373:862–5.

A Comparison of Online versus On-site Training in Health Research Methodology: A Randomized Study

Tuesday, November 15th, 2011