(The Principal College of Health Sciences Prof. Isaac Kibwage giving a speech at the event)
This was a five (5) day intensive training workshop fully sponsored by PRIME-K, a NIH Grant to the University of Nairobi (UoN). The training was organized by College of Health Sciences, UoN, in collaboration with National Commission for Science, Technology and Innovation (NACOSTI) and Kenyatta National Referral and Teaching Hospital (KNH). There were a total of 45 participants from 19 accredited Ethics and Research Committees (ERCs) in Kenya representing twelve (12) public and private universities, four (4) research institutes and four (4) public national hospitals. The training was held from 16-20 June, 2014 at the Silver Springs Hotel, Nairobi.
By way of objectives, by the end of the workshop participants were expected to:
- Articulate the role, mandate and National Guidelines of Institutional Ethics and Research Committee for Kenya
- Conduct critical review of qualitative and quantitative research proposals
- Build capacity of other researchers and postgraduate students in the writing and review of research proposals
- Analyze the implications of emerging issues in research ethics
- Observe animal rights in research
- Observe the rights of vulnerable groups
- Adhere to the guidelines of management of samples
- Adhere to quality assurance standards in qualitative and quantitative research
The chief guest during the opening ceremony was the acting Chief Executive Officer, NACOSTI, Dr. Moses Rugut who was represented by Dr. Simon Langat, the Chief Science Secretary, NACOSTI. In his message, the CEO pointed out that education and research are important determinants of the ability to create a knowledge-based economy and research cannot grow without strong and empowered ERCs.
He also noted that the workshop will go a long way in providing the requisite knowledge and skills of ERC members in reviewing the science of the proposals submitted to them and how that links up with ethical issues so that at the end, the approval given is comprehensive enough to ensure that the research conducted, the analysis of the data and the conclusions made meets the highest standards possible.
Also present during the opening ceremony was the Principal, College of Health Sciences, Prof. Isaac O. Kibwage who emphasized the critical role played by ERCs in maintaining highest standards possible in the conduct of research and hence the importance of the training workshop which was the first ever to be conducted in the Sub-Saharan Africa.
The participants highly rated the workshop and suggested that it should be offered regularly and strongly recommended that other ERC members should benefit from similar training.
During the closing ceremony, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Research Production and Extension, UoN (DVC RPE), Prof. Lucy Irungu thanked the three institutions led by College of Health Sciences, UoN who made this long overdue training workshop a reality. She emphasized the critical role played by research as the pillar and driving force behind the knowledge economy for any country and particulary in our setup.
For this to be fully realized, ERC members who are charged with the sole mandate of providing the requisite ethical and scientfic review and approval must have the required competencies hence the need for strategies to ensure that the training workshop is offered regurlarly.