Ethics & Engagement across the Wellcome Trust Major Overseas Programmes

Featured Project: Ethical issues in the use of molecular epidemiological techniques

Mr Farirai Mutenherwa is a 2014 Global Health Bioethics Network Bursary Fellow.


I am a PhD student at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) under the Africa Centre for Health and Population Studies. I hold an MScSoc. degree in Health Research Ethics (cum laude) from UKZN as well as an MSc. in Population Studies and a BSc. honours in Psychology both from the University of Zimbabwe. I have worked in various health research projects, which saw me develop a passion for the protection of human subjects in research. My areas of interest include informed consent, community engagement and sexual and reproductive health.

Project title: Ethical issues in the use of molecular epidemiological techniques, a literature review and expert opinion analysis

This study explores the ethical issues associated with linking pathogen data to HIV infections, in particular, the use of phylogenetic analysis results as evidence to prove HIV transmission. The overall objective of this study is to develop an ethics framework that will guide the use of molecular epidemiological approaches in South Africa and serve as a resource for other countries involved in similar work. The study is nested within a bigger project under the auspices of the Africa Centre for Health and Population Studies (ACHPS) and the University College London, which aims to use molecular epidemiological approaches to understand HIV transmission dynamics at five sites in South Africa, Botswana, Zambia and Uganda.

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