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Brighton & Sussex Medical School

Training and awareness

Training and awareness

The centre is committed to increasing awareness and research into ethics and community engagement involving biomedical research. 

Increasing awareness in ethics and research

With the increasing number of genetics and genomics research in low- and middle income xountries (LMIC), exploring the social, ethical and cultural implications of such types of studies is crucial in understanding the concerns and issues of the people living in these countries.

In addition, scientists in LIMC have done little to influence the public, including policy makers, governments, and researchers in other fields. This gap must be bridged by developing a community engagement strategy and work towards its execution to translate research findings to better life.

While at King’s College London, Prof Bobbie Farsides, together with her PhD student Susan Bull, pioneered the Rapid Ethical Assessment (REA) methodology for information provision and consent processes in developing countries. The REA approach proposes that, prior to conducting research in a new setting, research teams should commit to a short, social and concentrated scientific examination of the site, concentrating on issues that could be relevant to recruitment, consent, information provision, data storage and reporting. This assessment then allows a study protocol to be introduced in a manner sensitive to the needs and preferences of the local population, making recruitment and retention of participants more successful.

During her time here at the Wellcome Trust Brighton and Sussex Centre for Global Health Research, Prof Farsides joined with Prof Davey to supervise Dr Adamu Addassie who looked at the feasibility of introducing the REA approach in an Ethiopian setting. In the course of his studies Dr Addassie used the approach across a wide range of study types and settings and when he published his thesis it had significant impact within his country. The centre was able to meet with members of the national ethics committee, health officials and researchers to discuss how wider adoption of the REA approach would support ethical governance in Ethiopia. 

Ethics - Bobbie Farsides

adamu post defence

Adamu Addissie MD PhD
Addis Ababa University School of Public Health

I received a Wellcome Trust Doctoral Fellowship Grant to pursue my PhD studies in medical ethics and began my research into the ‘Adoption of Rapid Ethical Assessment (REA)’as a practical method for assessing ethical issues relating to biomedical research projects in Ethiopia. I focused on the ethics of global health research in general, but with a priority on the Ethiopian experience, piloting the REA tool in order to all researchers to tailor informed consent processes to various settings and needs. I was able to develop practical guidelines for researchers and REA is now being more widely employed by researchers. This has led to a subsequent grant to further explore the role of REA in medical research. 


Links with Lusaka

Links with Lusaka

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Latest news

BSMS to tackle HIV in a vulnerable rural setting

Dr Collins Iwuji, Senior Lecturer in Sexual Health and HIV Medicine at BSMS, has been awarded a Sussex Sustainability Research Programme (SSRP) grant for the project 'Drought, Poverty and HIV Drug Resistance: threat to resilience in a vulnerable rural setting.' The project will commence in April 2018 and will explore the relationship between the vulnerability created by drought and the increase in HIV drug resistance in the uMkhanyakude district of South Africa.

The co-location of HIV and drought has made HIV and diarrhoeal diseases the two leading causes of death in the district. The project tests the hypothesis that the added shock from drought contributes to HIV-positive individuals prioritising their means of livelihood over their health, resulting in poor engagement with care and greater HIV drug resistance in the district.

Dr Iwuji is one of the principal investigators for this project, along with Deenan Pillay, Professor of Virology at the Africa Health Research Institute and the University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Co-investigators from the University of Sussex include a multidisciplinary team of researchers from the School of Global Studies, the Institute of Development Studies and the Department of Geography. Find out more about SSRP here >

WTBSCGHR supports successful women in science workshop in Ethiopia

A four-day workshop organised by Dr Aster Tsegaye was held for 31 female scientists representing five academic institutions - Addis Ababa University, University of Gondar (North Ethiopia), Haramaya University (Eastern Ethiopia), Hawassa University (Southern Ethiopia), Pesticide Industry (South West Ethiopia) and a guest from Ahfad University in Sudan.

The workshop took place at the College of Health Science of Addis Ababa University and was organised by the Society of Ethiopian Women in Science & Technology (SEWIST) in collaboration with the Wellcome Trust Brighton and Sussex Center for Global Health Research (WTBSCGHR), Armauer Hansen Research Institute (AHRI), and College of Health Science, AAU. Conscious of the fact that less women are joining STEM fields, involve less in research and assume leadership positions, the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology supported the inception of SEWIST. 

The aim of the event was to empower women in science through training, sharing inspiring experience and networking. Participants gained hands on skills in research methodology, grant writing and manuscript development as well as training on sample size calculation, data entry and analysis using Epidata and SPSS software.

The agenda also included space for participants that had attended the prior SEWIST workshop in 2015 to give an update of their work, which proved inspiring and encouraging to new attendees. 

Dr Workeabeba Abebe (Pediatrician, AAU), said:  “I was stuck and unable to publish articles despite having lots of data at hand, however after the first workshop I felt  empowered  and inspired to pursue publishing and have since got promoted to the rank of Associate Professor.” 

Dr Tequam Debebe (Radiologist, AAU) said: “After attending the first workshop I become more comfortable to provide advice to my students. I was also encouraged to balance clinical activity, leading a department and trying to publish manuscripts, by allowing myself to have a day dedicated to research. I am now almost ready to get promoted to the rank of an Associate Professor.”

The WTBSCGHR encouraged Dr Arwa Al-Khangi from Afhad University to attend with view of supporting a similar workshop to take place in that institution. We have now received the proposal and it is awaiting approval. 

Group pic

"Ethics is much more than issuing study approval letters…"

This is the view of Hailemichael Getachew, one of the students that the Wellcome Trust Brighton and Sussex Centre for Global Health Research (WTBSCGHR) sponsored to attend the annual Global Health Bioethics Network (GHBN) Spring School, Durban, during the last week of September. 

He adds: "… this view is contrary to what I encounter in my daily practice in Ethiopia. Thus, the training and interactions during the Spring School with senior people in the field were inspirational and motivating. I am encouraged to contribute my share to the field particularly in my country where, in my view, there is a lot of education to do."

Hailemichael and Yemerisashc Seralegne are students at AHRI, WTBSCGHR’s partner in Ethiopia. They both wrote to the Centre to share how helpful it had been to participate in this event and will now focus on applying for a GHBN bursaries to advance their PhD research.The aim of the annual GHBN school is to provide a friendly, informal environment in which people at the Wellcome Trust Major Overseas Programmes (MOPs) in Kenya, Malawi, South Africa, Thailand-Laos, Vietnam, at the Ethox Centre in the UK and at the WTBSCGHR, can meet to share ideas, experiences and expertise about ethics and community engagement, learn more about these important areas of practice in low income settings, and develop ideas for future research projects. To read more about their projects you can visit their website.

This is the third year that the WTBSCGHR sponsors students for this event, and we hope to be able to continue this into the future.


BSMS hosts ethical implications talk 

Dr Adamu Addissie and Abebayehu Tora came to BSMS on Wednesday 19 July for a talk on the ethical implications on biomedical research in low and middle income settings. The two researchers have collaborated with the Global Health and Infection team at BSMS over the years. Dr Adamu spoke about his partnership with Prof Gail Davey and Prof Bobbie Farsides, which specialises in the adoption of rapid ethical assessment (REA) as a practical method for assessing ethical issues relating to biomedical research projects in Ethiopia and other low and middle income settings. Abebayehu discussed his research on the stigma related to neglected tropical diseases and his social and behavioural research into podoconiosis.

Adamu talk 

Association of Physicians Developing Links with Developing Countries 

A PhD researcher from the University of Khartoum recently visited BSMS to undertake research tuition with Postdoctoral Research Fellow Dr Leena Al-Hassan. The visit was part of the Association of Physicians Developing Links with Developing Countries grant, awarded to Prof Melanie Newport and Dr Al-Hassan. Einas Awad, from the Institute of Endemic Diseases at the University of Khartoum, was trained on using Multi-locus sequence typing (MLST) as a technique for accurate investigation of epidemiology and diversity. Einas's project investigates Klebsiella pneumoniae, a common bacterium that can cause a wide range of conditions including pneumonia, urinary tract infections, septicaemia, meningitis and diarrhoea. K. pneumoniae is very highly resistant to antibiotics and is problematic in hospital-acquired infections worldwide. Einas is investigating the genetic epidemiology of this bacterium in Sudan as well as characterising the genetic mechanisms of its resistance.