TAMA MRC Unit The Gambia Newsletter Vol 11 Issue 02

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Ethics Committee serving the people improving research. I ve been part of the Ethics Committee for 15 years I think the Committee s work has. 03 been very useful productive and to the best of my knowledge has reached a very broad. spectrum of people in The Gambia,Unit Director s mid term report. We ve implemented our new vision and mission and revitalised our science strategy. 05 We ve also successfully recruited the three Theme Leaders and re launched the Unit via. the Stakeholder Symposium which took place earlier this year. Consolidating the MRC s presence in West Africa, The message from the MRC was we are here not as funders but as collaborators This. 06 could have been a major problem but fortunately as I was relocating I got the WAPHIR. research grant West African Platform for HIV Intervention Research. 08 MRC Unit The Gambia hosts third WANETAM TB trainingg p. 10 Vaccinology,gy Theme shapes,13 Focus on TB,16 Brightening. p the Immunology,gy Platform,17 Recent Unit Publications. 21 Clinical Services People,22 Statistics,23 Trainingg.
24 News from Basse,27 Finance and Procurement,30 Environment Watch. 02 MRC TAMA VOL 11 ISSUE 02 2012, Ethics Committee serving the people improving research. continued from page 1, Mr Malcolm Clarke Gambia Mr Dawda Jagne is a retired public Mr Malamin Sonko is a consultant Dr Lamin Sidibe representing. Government MRC Joint Ethics health professional representing the and former Director of ActionAid the Gambia Government is a. Committee Chairman is a retired Gambia Government on the Ethics The Gambia He has been a lay psychologist and mental health. WHO administrator He says Committee He says I have been a member of The Ethics Committee practitioner by profession He. I ve been part of the Ethics member for about six years I feel for the past 8 years He says The says I am very aware of the parity. Committee for 15 years I think that it is important to protect the Committee looks into a broad between mental and physical. the Committee s work has been general public people being used spectrum of ethical questions health and that is one the reasons. very useful productive and to the in investigating aspects relating to relating to participation the I accepted to join this Committee. best of my knowledge has reached health and medicine making sure provision of clear information The scientific aspect is important. a very broad spectrum of people in that they do not suffer in any way on the projects the consenting but the human element is equally. The Gambia at all process the position of those under paramount. the age of consent even refunds,and token gifts for participants. The Committee s main considerations in their role as advocates for Commitment interest and volunteerism give us the impetus ultimately. participants in research projects are the safety and wellbeing of the our work with the Ethics Committee benefits the participants and. participants issues of personal intrusion and the real or potential benefit enhances good research practice. that the trial or project offers to the people of The Gambia. Before the projects come to the Ethics Committee they are reviewed. The Committee meets 10 times a year reviewing an average of 60 by the Unit s Scientific Coordinating Committee to ensure their. proposals annually From time to time the members also make site scientific merit and as Mr Sonko commented The presence of the SCC. visits to the MRC and locations in The Gambia where MRC research strengthens our work considerably and frees us to focus on the ethical. is taking place Recently four of the members Mr Malcolm Clarke questions. Chairman Mr Malamin Sonko Dr Lamin Sidibe and Mr Dawda Jagne. spent the day at the MRC s Fajara site also calling in at Sukuta and A spirit of cooperation and respect between the members is thought. Fajikunda Health Centres where MRC projects are on going At the end to be a key ingredient in the Ethics Committee s longevity and success. of the visit each member gave their feedback on the day and provided Dr Sidibe remarked I d like to single out our Chairman Malcolm Clarke. their own assessment of the Ethics Committee s relevance to research He is sober and calm and highly effective in containing and guiding the. conducted in The Gambia Mr Sonko said We had the opportunity meetings Mr Jagne reiterated this view adding that A good number of. to see the facilities the enabling environment for research the level of us are highly seasoned administrators who ve been in the field for a long. collaboration between the Gambia Government health centre staff and time and cannot be manipulated we are quite elderly as well This is. the MRC and we saw a number of highly committed highly trained staff very good team indeed. at work Dr Sidibe a keen advocate of the training and development. of Gambians added I d underestimated the level of capacity building An attitude of service unites the members of the Ethics Committee. being undertaken by the MRC This will help in building confidence As Mr Clarke commented I accepted the invitation to join the Ethics. between the Gambia Government the MRC and the participants Committee because I felt I d be doing something useful for the good of. humanity as a whole and helping the people who are doing the research. Membership of the Ethics Committee is voluntary and entails a work This is important because in the absence of these facilities and. considerable amount of work in terms of preparing for and attending researchers we d be losing a lot as a people and as a country I believe. the monthly meetings which take place on a Friday evening at MRC s we need to encourage them provide the opportunity for them Mr. Fajara site Dr Sidibe said We are very committed we spend about Jagne concurred We all feel the same When I was asked to join I. two to three hours reviewing the proposals at the meeting and prior thought my public health background would be useful in evaluating the. to the meeting we will have read a number of bulky documents health research that comes into the country by helping the researchers. MRC TAMA VOL 11 ISSUE 02 2012 03, Ethics Committee serving the people improving research.
and looking at the potential benefits to the community too to blend research laboratory work with clinical laboratory work This. provides an instant benefit to the Gambian community particularly. The ethics of biomedical research have been the topic of intense those in the greater Banjul area and at the same time has a long term. debate worldwide for many years and such worries underline the perspective of research that will feed back to the Clinical Services later. need for a proper ethical review process in the country where the on I was particularly impressed with the clinical laboratory seeing. research takes place Dr Sidibe articulated the collective view thus how such an efficient service is provided within a given time limit. We cannot overemphasise the significance of an ethics committee. particularly in a developing country The researchers have an objective Given that the visit was not a courtesy call but more in the nature of. and they are here for a purpose to generate scientific knowledge a fact finding mission Dr Sidibe offered some advice to the MRC It is. But the existence of an ethics committee ensures that the research critical that the findings from projects are disseminated to the Ethics. participants are protected their rights respected and that somehow Committee the Government and the community There may be a. they benefit from the research activities I believe that the Committee tendency towards participant fatigue and communities may ask Why are. gives credibility providing a service to the researcher and the participant they experimenting on us all the time Feedback would help address. bearing in mind that a researcher may be preoccupied with the issues such as refusal to participate and indeed indifference towards the. knowledge being sought and not fully able to reflect MRC. The Ethics Committee members are looking forward to future Summarising the Ethics Committee s value to the MRC the. reconnaissance visits to the MRC and the research sites and will no Government and people of The Gambia Mr Clarke concluded. doubt return armed with new questions As Mr Sonko remarked I We have done our best to portray the Ethics Committee to a very. didn t have time to find out the perspectives of the participants on the creditable standard and I believe we have achieved this The Gambia. questions we consider during the Committee meetings I hope I ll have Government Ethics Committee is regarded as one of the best in our. more time on my next visit to do this research However today gave region I also believe that the work the MRC has done is worthy of. me an opportunity to see in practice the unique way the MRC is able commendation and the Unit should be congratulated. About the Gambia Government MRC Joint Ethics Committee. The fundamental principles underpinning research on human beings and information relating to them have been elaborated and refined in. various international guidelines The Gambia Government MRC Joint Ethics Committee follows the Declaration of Helsinki in its current. version taking into account the International Ethical Guidelines for Biomedical Research Involving Human Subjects CIOMS 2002 The. Ethics of Clinical Research in Developing Countries a discussion paper Nuffield Council of Bioethics 2000 and the Ethical Principles. and Guidelines for the Protection of Human Subjects of Research The Belmont Report 1979. The Gambia Government MRC Joint Ethics Committee expects that projects are first judged scientifically sound by a recognised. Gambian scientific committee or board Interventional clinical studies follow the principles of Good Clinical Practice GCP as laid down. in the ICH Harmonised Tripartite Guideline for Good Clinical Practice ICH 1996. The Gambia Government MRC Joint Ethics Committee is an independent body primarily responsible for acting in the interest of research. participants and their communities in The Gambia The Committee is also responsible to the Ministry of Health Social Welfare. represented by the Director of Health Services and to the Medical Research Council Unit The Gambia represented by the Director of. the MRC Unit The Gambia, The Committee is made up of 11 members a Chairperson the Director of Health Services and the MRC Unit Director Each director. nominates 4 members of which one shall be a lay person and one a representative from the University of The Gambia The Directors. with the Chairman nominate from the members a Scientific Advisor and a deputy to the Chairperson. The Chairperson is independent of the Ministry of Health and the MRC The members and their deputies are appointed following. consultation between the Directors, Members require initial and continuing education and training regarding research ethics research methodology and research governance. appropriate to his or her role as an EC member, The Committee reviews ethical aspects of research projects involving human participants and oversees ongoing research projects in The. Gambia In addition the Committee reviews requests for further use of biological samples within The Gambia or the transfer of data or. biological samples out of The Gambia, For further information on the Ethics Committee contact Dr Jenny Mueller Clinical Trials Support Manager. email jmueller mrc gm,04 MRC TAMA VOL 11 ISSUE 02 2012.
Unit Director s mid term report,continued from page 1. A period of attainment, We ve achieved a lot We ve implemented our new vision. and mission and revitalised our science strategy We ve also. successfully recruited the three Theme Leaders and re launched. the Unit via the Stakeholder Symposium which took place earlier. this year The Symposium attracted scientists funding agencies. and representatives from major pharmaceutical companies. worldwide It was proof that people significant players still. recognise this Unit as a scientific powerhouse in our sub region. Navigating the turbulence, Throughout the reconstruction period we managed to adhere to. our culture of good science and commitment to supporting the. delivery of excellent research This was no mean feat as it took. place against a backdrop of tangible fears around a potentially. huge loss of staff I d like to take this opportunity to thank. everyone who helped the Unit to move forward during that. difficult time often in the face of considerable uncertainty. Professor Corrah above speaking at one of the Unit s recent defining. moments The Stakeholder Symposium in January 2012,Different atmosphere new culture. Undoubtedly we have turned things around This is evident in. staff morale it s as simple as walking around the camp and seeing A thirty year perspective on change. a bunch of happier people talking about science Thankfully I. believe the general perception is that the Unit has a bright future Professor Corrah says I arrived here on 11th December 1982. my birthday One obvious massive change over the last three. However our biggest remaining challenge is to ensure a constant decades is the number of senior positions now occupied by. in flow of funds to keep the science going We agreed with Africans in the Unit When I arrived I was the only clinically. MRC Head Office that we need to attract external funding qualified African working in the Unit There were only two other. continued on 05 continued on 03 02 MRC TAMA V OL 11 ISSUE 02 2012 CONTENTS 08 MRC Unit The Gambia hosts third WANETAM TB training VOL 11 ISSUE 02 2012

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