Increasing awareness in ethics and research
With the increasing number of genetics and genomics research in Low- and Middle Income Countries (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 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.