Liberia: National Training Manual for Research Ethics Education Developed for Schools

MONROVIA — The National Research Ethics Board (NREB), The University of Liberia-PIRE Africa Center IRB, The R-Evolution Worldwide, based in United Kingdom, in partnership with the European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP) under the LiberHetica Project, have been involved in strengthening capacity building in Research Ethics and Institutional Review Boards (IRBs) in the review of clinical and social science research protocols in Liberia.

One of the critical gaps in in research ethics education was the require tools and manual needed to conduct such training for university students and research.

In this direction, the LiberHetica project had developed a National Training Manual for Research Ethics Education which was validated on February 10, 2022 by stakeholders at the Corina Hotel, Sinkor that included the Ministry of Health, the University of Liberia, AME University, United Methodist University, Stella Maris Polytechnic University, Carter Center, Africabio, UMU, Starz University, and the National Public Health Institute of Liberia. This Manuel will be the very first curriculum developed for research ethics education in Liberia.

The National Research Ethics Board is the national advisory institution responsible to regulate research ethics related activities in Liberia, has embarked on supporting institutional capacity strengthening framework in research ethics to create an awareness within our communities as we strive to protect the participation of people that are enrolled in research studies.

Research studies could include student thesis that involves humans, national census, and demographic and health surveys, etc.

The NREB is creating the awareness and strengthens the framework for research ethics education at universities and research institutions in Liberia that are involved in conducting clinical trials (studies) and social research that involves human participants or human beings.

The University of Liberia-Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation (UL-PIRE) Institutional Review Board is an institutional review board that provides guidance and conducts reviews of social, behavioral and Education research studies that are done by students, professional researchers and institutions gear toward protecting the welfare and wellbeing of human participants in research.

The goal of the 3-year LiberHetica project with funding European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP) which ends this year is to assess the capacities of the NREB and UL-PIRE IRB through a capacity and institutional strengthening for the protection of human subjects.

The major objectives are to strengthen the research ethics education, collaboration, and the ethics procedures harmonization between the Liberian ethical bodies, universities, research centers and other institutions of the country; address the balance of the gender, expertise and vulnerable populations representatives in the Liberian ethical bodies; and establish network with West African, European and already existing ethics networks.

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