Ethics & Engagement across the Wellcome Trust Major Overseas Programmes

Featured Project: Exploring the experiences and challenges faced by IRB members in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Yemisrach Zewdie Seralegne is a 2018 GHBN Bursary Fellow


Yemisrach has been working as an Associate Researcher at the Armauer Hansen Research Institute (AHRI), Addis Ababa, Ethiopia since 2011. She did her M.A. in Sociology with Nursing, and has extensive exposure and experience in clinical practice as well as health research activities. She is currently working in the Clinical Trials Unit as a Project Coordinator and acting as a Community Liaison Officer (CLO) for a TB Clinical Trial. She is also a member of the institutional (AHRI/ALERT) IRB and interested in carrying out research in Bioethics and community engagement.

Project Title: Exploring the Experience and Challenges faced by IRB members in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

IRB members play a vital role in the protection of the rights and wellbeing of research participants as a result of their participation in the review process of research proposals involving human participants. In the review process, IRBs have basic criteria and requirements that must be fulfilled by the study proposal for evaluation and subsequent decision making as to whether the study is approved or not.

This pilot study will assess the experiences and challenges of IRB members in Addis Ababa. We will address their experiences and challenges with respect to trainings obtained and the benefit of training in the review process of study proposal. As well, this study will explore the experiences of members in different types of research proposals. Is there a difference on the emphasis given to different sections of the proposal? If so, why was that? We aim to also identify challenges and limitation members face during the review process and see how they solved them.

This study will be conducted using qualitative research methodology. Data will be collected from the IRB members based on the interview questions. The findings will help us to understand the existing experiences and challenges faced by IRB members and serve as a baseline for large scale studies and possible intervention mechanisms.

Update - July 2020

I used a qualitative research method and open ended questionnaire to collect data from ten IRB members of four IRB units in Addis Ababa.

Challenges I faced were during the data collection process where voluntary study participants were too busy to give an interview, the process of data transcription and translation took longer time than planned and I was not able to find an expert who could complete the pre-analytic process of the collected data. I overcame the challenges by doing the transcription and translation of the collected data and have it reviewed by an external social scientist. The study is now complete and manuscript preparation is underway.

Comment by Michael Parker on March 6, 2018 at 7:32

Welcome to the team Yemisrach! This looks like a great project and I'm looking forward to hearing your findings.

Comment by Elvis Moyo on March 6, 2018 at 20:15

Good work Yemi, wishing you good luck  on your work.

Comment by Noni Mumba on March 13, 2018 at 8:20

Hi Yemisrach! Welcome to the network; your project is very interesting, not to mention very important as well. Looking forward to hearing more about it, and learning about your experiences in Ethiopia. I am excited to see you have an interest in Community/Public Engagement! Hope to link up at some point to hear some of your lessons learnt in this area.

All the best!


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