Attitudes and perceptions about the Research and Ethics Committee in Kampala, Uganda
Ibingira, Charles BR
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Background: The Makerere University Faculty of Medicine Research and Ethics Committee reviews and approves more than 100 new research protocols a year, yet its activities had never been evaluated as far as the researchers are concerned. Methods and results: This was a cross sectional study at Makerere University Faculty of Medicine and Mulago Teaching Hospital. The survey population included all staff involved in research at the post graduate level and faculty. Most of the respondents agreed that decisions of the REC were binding 53 (75.7%),15 (21%) hold that were variable and 2(2.9%) biased. The biased attitudes of researchers regarding protocol review reduces as researchers present more protocols to the REC. Most of the respondents do agree that the REC makes researchers more aware of ethical issues (52.9%), that ethical review is important for protection of human subjects (55.8%), and that the system of ethical review protects human research participants (65.7%). 48.6% believed that the REC ensures that researchers adhere to elements of the consent process which help to protect the autonomy of research participants. However 51% doubt the ability of the REC to ensure that researchers adhere to elements of the consent process during conduct of research More than 97% of the respondents believe that the REC is either average or very good, while 2.8%rank it below average. Conclusion: The Research and Ethics Committee sticks to the scientific design and ethical issues to ensure protection of research participants. Some respondents reported bias during review, delay in approval of protocols as well as lack of follow up of on going research. However, majority of respondents ranked the committee as average or above average.