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Regional News of Friday, 15 May 2015

Source: GNA

RAMSRI-ERC schools GEAC Research Scientists on Ethics

The Radiological and Medical Sciences Research Institute (RAMSRI) and Ethical Review Committee (ERC) of the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission, has organized a day's awareness seminar to educate research scientists on how to be more ethically conscious in their research.

The seminar on the theme: "Research Ethics: The Responsibility is of the Researcher," took participants through the critical issues to be considered when obtaining an ethical clearance to commence a research.

Mr Adolf Kofi Awuah, the Research Scientist and a member of the RAMSRI ERC, addressing participants, noted that, obtaining ethical clearance was not the end of the ethical issues but was the responsibility of the researcher to protect the research participants and community.

He explained that RAMSRI-ERC has been inaugurated to review, evaluate and decide on the ethical merits of research protocols to ensure and guarantee the rights, dignity, safety and protection of Human participants and communities who participate in research activities.

The ERCs, he said has been established to assist and ensure that researchers act responsibly in the conduct of their research, but, "Ethical clearance is not the same as permission granted by an institution, it goes beyond that".

Taking participants through the process, Mr Awuah explained that it was important for researchers to seek ethical clearance before they start their work and not during or after they have pretested their questionnaires, recruited participants, started community entry Report changes of protocol and warned that there were some penalties for not being ethical.

The RAMSRI-ERC has an independent membership made up of medical officers, natural scientists (multiple discipline), social scientists, journalist, and representatives from religious bodies, community representative, legal officers and a representative from another ERC in Ghana.

"This is an independent body that will do an independent assessment of protocol since the research involves human subjects.

"It is therefore their duty to ensure that the rights and welfare of human subjects used in research are protected and research conducted in an ethical manner and in compliance with established standards," he said.

Dr Mary Boadu, the Director of RAMSRI noted that, the ERC was set up to meet the growing need for improved research conduct in the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission.

The RAMSRI-ERC was established in 2013 and inaugurated on the 20th of August 2014. Registered with the Federal Office for Human Research Protections (OHRP) in the United States of America and has the unique capacity of reviewing protocols that involve the use of radiation and radiation emitting devices.

She noted that the independent review committee will also assist investigators in designing their research projects in a manner to minimize potential harm to human subjects.

Reverend Father Professor George Ankra Badu Chairman of RAMSRI-ERC advised researchers to always ensure that they adhered to the ethics of the profession and always ensure that they seek ethical clearance before they begin their research.

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