Health research ethics under the spotlight

Prof Anton van Niekerk (back) with the panel of speakers, Prof Laurence Piper, Mr Navin Naidoo, and Drs Alistair Hunter and Nicola Barsdorf, at the first research ethics workshop to bring together all the research ethics committees in the Western Cape.

The first workshop ever to bring together all the Health Research Ethics Committees in the Western Cape was held in August at the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences (FMHS).

The workshop was opened by the renowned ethicist, Prof Anton van Niekerk, and included three panel discussions on pertinent ethics topics, namely, reciprocal review, access to post-trial care, and data sharing. Other topics up for discussion at the workshop included: the recently revised second edition of the Department of Health’s guidelines on ethics in health research; the review of qualitative research methodologies; research with children; and placebo use in trial research.

The workshop attracted more than 100 participants from research ethics committees at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, the South African Medical Research Council, the University of Cape Town, Stellenbosch University, and the University of the Western Cape.

The workshop, co-hosted and funded this year by Stellenbosch University’s Health Research Ethics Committee (HREC) and Undergraduate Research Ethics Committee (UREC) and the Division for Research Development will continue to be held on an annual basis. The 2017-workshop is scheduled to be hosted by the University of Cape Town.
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