Yamoussoukro, the political capital of Ivory Coast hosted from March 17 to 19, 2022, the 5th annual conference of the West African Consortium for Clinical Research on Epidemic Pathogens (WAC-CREP).
This high-level meeting, which had the theme « Research for the response to Covid-19 in West Africa », brought together 200 experts from 16 countries. In addition to WAC-CREP member countries, namely Mali, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea and Côte d’Ivoire, other countries such as Senegal, Burkina, Mauritania, Gambia, Togo, Nigeria, Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia, England, the United States of America (USA) were also represented.
During four days, experiences and expertise were shared, 153 scientific communications (123 oral communications and 30 posters) were presented, including oral communications LiberHetica Team.
LiberHetica had also opportunities of multisector, multidisciplinary and multistakeholders meetings, aimed at strengthening relationships and develop south-south and north-south sub-regional collaborations in the context of African clinical research, ethics, regulatory and health systems preparadness to global health crisis.
The National Research Ethics Board (NREB), The University of Liberia- Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation Institutional Review Board (UL-PIRE IRB), The R-Evolution Worldwide (R-Evo WW), based in United Kingdom, in partnership with the European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP) under the LiberHetica Project, have been involved in strengthening capacity building in Research Ethics and Institutional Review Boards (IRBs) in the review of clinical and social science research protocols in Liberia.
One of the critical gaps in in research ethics education was the require tools and manual needed to conduct such training for university students and research.
In this direction, the LiberHetica project had developed aNational Training Manual for Research Ethics Education which was validated on February 10, 2022 by stakeholders at the Corina Hotel (Monrovia -LIBERIA) that included the Ministry of Health, the University of Liberia, AME University, United Methodist University, Stella Maris Polytechnic University, Carter Center, Africabio, UMU, Starz University, and the National Public Health Institute of Liberia. This Manuel will be the very first curriculum developed for research ethics education in Liberia.
Research produces new information that can improve health, services, and products. Review and monitoring of research studies in Liberia can be challenging because of limited human, financial, logistics and material resources. However, it is rewarding to ensure that humans participating in all forms of research are protected, and researchers are trained in research ethics and human participants’ protection. For this reason, the UL-PIRE IRB and NREB have produced this training manual, under the LiberHetica project, for research ethics in Liberia, in the context also in the context of Research Ethics Education Dissemination rollout plan for Emergencies preparedness during disease outbreak for the management of Ethical Issues.
The NREB as the advisory institution responsibly to regulate all research ethics activities in Liberia, has embark on institution capacity strengthening in research ethics to create an awareness within our community as a first line when striving to protect the participation of people that are enrolled in research studies. Research studies could include student thesis that involve humans, national census, demographic and health survey, etc.
The NREB wants to create these awareness and strengthen research ethics at universities and institutions in Liberia that conduct studies on human subjects. Before we can do this, we need to assess the capacities of these institutions through capacity and institution strengthening through dissemination.
The National Research Ethics Board (NREB), in partnership with the European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP) under the LiberHetica Project, conducted on 13th August 2021 a One-day Research Ethics Education Dissemination rollout Plan for Emergencies Preparedness during Disease outbreaks for the Management of Ethical Issues.
The NREB, as the national advisory institution responsible to regulate research ethics related activities in Liberia, has embarked on supporting institutional capacity strengthening framework in research ethics to create an awareness within our communities and to strive to protect the the people participating in research studies.
The NREB wants to create this awareness and strengthens the framework for research ethics at universities and institutions in Liberia that conduct studies on human subjects. Before we can engage in the proposed activities, we need to assess the capacities of the designated institutions through a capacity and institutional strengthening framework for the protection of human subjects.
UL-PIRE IRB and NREB convened a two-day workshop from 17-18 June 2021 during a retreat at Farmington Hotel, in nearby Margibi County (Liberia), in order to review the past twelve months activities. Of key importance was the finalization of the Human Research Ethics Training Manual to be used as a curriculum for ethics committees, researchers and students in Liberia. The main objective was to develop a manual that meets national and international standards.
The workshop was attended by ULPIRE-IRB and NREB members. The team discussed the successes and challenges of the overall LiberHetica project relative to their respective activities. There was a review of all the LiberHetica project deliverables completed thus far and the processes in fast tracking the implementations of pending deliverables for Year 2 of the LiberHetica project. The workshop was successful as the intended objectives were achieved; it will form part of the Year 2 Project Report.
We are pleased to announce that Mrs. Gloria Manson Ross and Dr. Stephen B. Kennedy (LiberHetica project leaders) will attend the AVAREF-MRCT Ethics Training, planned in September 2021.
The African Vaccines Regulatory Forum (AVAREF) of the World Health Organization and the Multi-Regional Clinical Trials Center of Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard (MRCT Center) are hosting a comprehensive training course on research ethics. The course will be held on 6 days over the course of a 3-week period. This “train-the-trainer” course is intended to build capacity of individuals who are currently serving as members and chairs in research ethic committees (RECs), ethicists involved in research ethics review, and ethics educators.
The symposium, organised by The Embassy of Good Science, in collaboration with EUREC, BERC-Luso, AfriEthique, and LiberHetica, aims to facilitate the sharing of experiences and perspectives on research ethics assessment challenges between African and European experts. The symposium is organized into four sessions in which experts will present on challenges and solutions related to the theme of their session. A panel discussion will follow the speaker presentations.
The symposium will be live streamed here (no registration required):
The Embassy of Good Science, EUREC and LiberHetica are organizing the symposium “Ethical evaluation of research: challenges and opportunities experienced by African and European experts”, aimed at facilitating the sharing of experiences and perspectives on the challenges of ethical research evaluation. between African and European experts.
On Tuesday 25th May 2021, African and European experts will present on challenges and solutions related to ethical evaluation and research infrastructures, with a particular focus on the following topics: ethical education and teaching, independence of RECs, research ethics challenges during public health emergencies, practical/logistic and other challenges.
The two EDCTP-funded projects LiberHetica and SERCLe met on 16 April 2021. Both projects primarily aim at strengthening the clinical trials oversight capacity at the ethics institutions, respectively in Liberia and Sierra Leone.
Similarities and complementary differences between projects were discussed and potential synergies were found during the meeting.
The new opportunities of collaboration identified will be developed, with the ultimate goal to further increase the impact of the projects, especially regarding the protection of participants in biomedical research and to promote the safety and efficacy of medicines in development.
The African and European representatives from the EDCTP-funded project LiberHetica and the RegTrain-VaccTrain project lead byPaul Ehrlich Institute (under the Global Health Protection Programme established by the German Federal Ministry of Health) met on 13 April 2021.
The LiberHetica project primarily focuses on strengthening the clinical trials oversight capacity at National Ethics institutions (NREB andUL-PIRE IRB), while RegTrain-VacTrain similarly does so at the National Medicines Authority (LMHRA).
The meeting was a first but very fruitful opportunity of exchanging between different but complementary working groups engaged in improving public health in Liberia.
Potential synergies were successfully identified during the meeting, which will be developed in order to further increase the impact of the projects, especially in regards to the protection of the participants in biomedical research and to promote the safety and efficacy of developing and circulating medicines.
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