Ethics & Engagement across the Wellcome Trust Major Overseas Programmes


Introducing our 2012 Global Health Bioethics Network Fellows


Maureen Njue, KEMRI-Wellcome Trust, Kilifi, Kenya

Bio Sketch:

I hold a BA degree in Sociology from Maseno University, Kenya. I joined KEMRI/Wellcome Trust, Kilifi in 2007 working within the Social and Behavioural Research group. I was awarded a Masters scholarship from KEMRI/WT Strategic Award and pursued an MPH at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in London, UK. 

My research interests have revolved around research ethics with some of my work focusing on exploring the direct/indirect costs and benefits of research participation in a drug trial, exploring participants understanding of the research process and exploring perceptions around informed consent process for an emergency clinical trial. 

Project Title: Incorporating the views of community members into guidelines on benefits to participants at the KEMRI Wellcome Trust Unit in Kilifi, Kenya

This project aims to first explore the perceptions of community members in Kilifi regarding what’s perceived as good practice for planning benefits to participants across the different types of research; and how these views can be incorporated into guidelines for researchers on planning for benefits in studies.  Secondly, it aims to explore methods for community consultation focusing on questions about benefits.

Approximately 70-80 local residents will be purposively selected, including KEMRI community representatives, community leaders and other opinion leaders with the aim to maximize diversity of views. Small group discussions will be facilitated using case studies of particular types of research in which the views around the types and value of benefits that would be seen as appropriate and the reasons for these views will be explored.

The study aims to describe the views and reasoning in the community deliberations. The investigators will consider the main proposals from the community discussions; assess consistency and coherence within these views, including how they relate with the wider literature/existing guidelines on benefits. The study will present recommendations on research benefits to participants based on the perspectives and priorities of local residents in Kilifi.

Dr. Khin Maung Lwin, Shoklo-Malaria Research Unit, Thai-Burma Border

Bio Sketch:

I am from Myanmar and born at 1967. I finished my degree (M.B., B.S) from Institute of Medicine 1 Yangon. I worked with humanitarian NGOs for about 5 years in Myanmar. Since 2005, I joined to Shoklo Malaria Research Unit (SMRU), involved many clinical trials as co- investigators and 3 trials as principal investigator. Since 2007, I led SMRU ethic working group mainly for Informed Consent Procedures. From 2008 I was assigned as manager for Cross Border Malaria Control Project. In 2009 January, together with Phaik Yeong Cheah, I formalized and established Tak Province Border Community Ethics Advisory Board (T-CAB) and am still facilitating it.

Project Title: Identifying the Success Indicators of the Tak Province Border Community Ethics Advisory Board

The Shoklo Malaria Research Unit (SMRU) has been working on the Thai-Burmese border for many years in  health and community based research among the diverse border population. In research settings,  different forms of engagement strategies have been initiated, but there has been little research on their effectiveness. There is a lack of documentation on the challenges associated with these different strategies and little or no evidence base on which to base engagement strategies. SMRU facilitated to form the Tak Province Border Community Ethics Advisory Board (T-CAB) on January 2009. The T-CAB may have been the first of its kind as there has not been any set up of similar nature involving mobile and unstable populations residing along a porous border.

This project, which is the first of the series of studies, is to answer  the following question: “What are the key success indicators of the T-CAB? The success will be measured against expectations of key stakeholders. We will explore the expectations of key stakeholders includíng investigators, clinic staff, local communities by using appropriate qualitative research methods eg FGD,IDI, observation. Based on these findings, a bespoke evaluation tool will be developed and piloted.

Ms Tran Thi Thanh Phuong, Hospital for Tropical Diseases, OUCRU, Viet Nam

Bio Sketch:

I am a Research Fellow at the Hospital for Tropical Diseases, Oxford University Clinical Research Unit and the University of Economics Ho Chi Minh City.  I completed my undergraduate degree in Economics Finance and Investment (First Class Honours) and then I took a Masters Degree in Finance and Banking both in the UK.  I then returned to Viet Nam and worked as a Lecturer in Economics at the Economics University of Ho Chi Minh City. I am now a Research Fellow and PhD student at the Hospital for Tropical Diseases, Oxford University Clinical Research Unit focused on Health Economics, with collaborations at the Department of Public Health University of Oxford UK, National Institute Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE UK).

Project Title: Cost effectiveness analysis of different dengue interventions and its application for policy evaluation and to help guide equitable access to health care

 The focus of my research is on the Health Economics Challenges facing Viet Nam including work on Health Insurance, Government Provision and Payment Models for Vaccines, and Infectious Diseases. My PHD research aims to explore different techniques of health economic evaluation cost minimisation analysis, cost effectiveness analysis, cost benefit analysis, and cost utility anlaysis" to evaluate health interventions and their relevance to health care decision making in the context of developing country like Viet Nam.

My research is specifically to use economic and cost effectiveness analysis to assess public health programs as well as problems specific to clinical medicine in Viet Nam, based on specific case studies in disease, dengue and HIV. The research is intended to combine clinical research and practice with Health Economics, Policy and develop models to assess how such evidence can help inform policy making in Viet Nam. A review of current health care funding system in Viet Nam will also be undertaken.

My research will also explore the broader ethical and political issues surrounding the application of health economics.  Health Economics is currently of great importance in Viet Nam and I hope that through my PhD I can contribute to the growing debate about the way health provision in Viet Nam can be afforded in a sustainable and equitable way.

Dr Lisa Jane White, Mahidol-Oxford Tropical Medicine Research Unit, Bangkok, Thailand

Bio Sketch:

I am a mathematical modeller working on tropical infectious diseases. I am currently the Head of the mathematical modelling group at the Mahidol-Oxford Tropical Medicine Research Unit. I collaborate with the National Center of Malaria Control (CNM) in Cambodia and members of the WHO concerned with the containment of artemisinin resistance in its focus in Western Cambodia. During a previous post based in rural Kenya I became a founding member of the charity KESHO which aims to pair individual sponsors with nursery, primary and secondary school students who require additional funds to complete their education. 

Project Title: Phoum Peet: Promoting Village Health in Cambodia through Community Engagement

With 36% of the population living below the poverty line, Cambodia has some of the lowest human development indicators in South East Asia. However, this has not deterred the nation from making huge advances in controlling malaria - a major killer of children and adults in rural communities. Village malaria workers (VMWs) are volunteers that have made a huge contribution to the health of their fellow villagers. They give their time free of charge to train in modern methods of detection and treatment of malaria and then provide an onsite testing and treatment service to the people of their village. The VMW scheme in Cambodia currently covers about 30% of the villages currently at risk of malaria. In villages not yet covered, people are still dying of malaria and other preventable diseases. In this project we aim to set up a sponsorship scheme to recruit individual international sponsors to fund individual VMWs and extend the national scheme. We will develop novel smartphone technology and a dedicated website to enhance communication and reporting. We will design and carry out a study to explore the ethical issues arising from the role of the new VMWs.

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