H3Africa: An Africa exemplar? Exploring its framework on protecting human research participants

Developing World Bioethics 18 (2):156-164 (2018)
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Abstract

The Human Heredity and Health in Africa Consortium is a conglomeration of research and infrastructure projects spread throughout Africa whose aim is to apply genomic methodology to diseases affecting the people in the region. Its operation is innovative in the sense that it is doing something new; that is, filling a hitherto existing void in genomic research capability of African scientists and infusing resources and manpower to institutions and investigators across Africa. But aside from developing and sustaining capacity in genomic research and biorepositories, H3Africa is also invested in developing appropriate ethical regulatory regime to govern research in these areas. This latter concern –research ethics governance – is the major subject of this paper. Specifically, the paper discusses protection of research participants as envisaged by H3Africa in the area of consent, safeguarding privacy, maintaining confidentiality of health information and sharing of data/biospecimens. The ultimate goal is to determine whether H3Africa initiatives and processes are consistent or at odds with international guidelines and best practices.

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