Project: Coast to Coast: Transcontinental Ethics Partnership

Acronym C2C-TEP (Reference Number: EDCTP-Ethics2015-872)
Duration 01/05/2017 - 30/04/2019
Project Topic Independent ethical review is an essential requirement for medical research involving human participants, their biological materials or personal data. Robust review systems provide public assurance that research is carried out according to the highest ethical and methodological standards, attract good quality research and drive scientific and economic development. Significant advances have been made in most sub-Saharan African countries, yet challenges remain with embedding review in a national framework with ethics committee administration and composition and expertise of committee members. The “Coast to Coast Transcontinental Ethics Partnership” aims to address these issues by enabling a “South-South” collaboration with support of internationally recognised experts of ethics review in sub-Saharan Africa. To ensure wide applicability of the results to the region, Ethiopia, The Gambia and Ghana were selected for this coast-to-coast collaboration, representing a cross-section of sub-Saharan Africa in terms of country size and ethics review structures. The project is looking to evaluate strengths and weaknesses of the existing research ethics review systems in the participating countries. Following an initial assessment of existing structures and capacities, delegates from stakeholder institutions including a National Ethics Committee (NEC) and Research Ethics Committees/Institutional Review Boards (RECs/IRBs) will be invited to a first meeting during which assessment results will be presented and discussed. The meeting will be followed-up by a workshop to develop concrete proposals and strategies for the improvement of national and institutional review systems. Over the following year the consortium will work to implement actions and monitor progress in each country. The success of the proposed improvements will be evaluated at the end of the one year implementation phase. Outcomes and lessons learned will be discussed and translated into practical guidance that can be used as a model by other countries in the region. The “Coast to Coast Transcontinental Ethics Partnership” is expected to improve the ethics review process at national and institutional level in Ethiopia, The Gambia and Ghana, and to benefit other sub-Saharan African countries, with positive effects for clinical research programmes in this region. The team has taken great strides in completing the study objectives since project activities kicked-off in May 2016. Assessments of the national frameworks and ethics review systems were successfuly carried out in The Gambia, Ghana and Ethiopia. The consortium is now working to compile the data and complete the country-specific assessment reports which will form the basis for the first general meeting. This meeting, involving all national stakeholders from the participating countries, will be held in The Gambia later in 2018. A key driver of this project has been to intensive involvement of local stakeholders on all levels. This includes the revelant Minisitries, national regulatory authorities, representatives from national and institutional ethics committees and review boards and their administrators. The consortium is excited to enter the next phase of the project which involves sharing of the initial observations and provision of a platform to incubate and realise concrete proposals for improvement.
Network EDCTP2
Call Ethics and Regulatory capacities 2015

Project partner

Number Name Role Country
1 Medical Research Council Coordinator United Kingdom
2 Ministry of Science and Technology - Ethiopia Partner Ethiopia
3 University of Gondar Partner Ethiopia
4 Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research Partner Ghana