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Ethics & Engagement across the Wellcome Trust Major Overseas Programmes

Update of the Project: Project: CARE: Community Attitudes towards Research Ethics

Good morning everyone from Siem Reap,

I really hope that you are doing well. I am now updating the CARE project. I would like to say thank you to everyone for you comment and support.

Summary of the project

The aim of the project was to explore Cambodian community members’ attitudes and understanding towards healthcare research and research ethics.

It was a qualitative study generated data from Semi-structured interviews (SSIs) and focus group discussions (FGDs).  Data were analysed by thematic content analysis and the coding structure was developed using relevant literature. Interviews and iterative semi-structured interviews and data analysis were performed concurrently. This study was conducted at Angkor Hospital for Children and in the villages of Sotnikum district, Siem Reap, Cambodia. A total of ten semi-structured interviews and four focus group discussions were conducted.

Results: Participants did not have a clear understanding of what activities related to research compared with those for routine healthcare. The main influencing factor when deciding whether to participate in research is trust: personal (trust of the researcher directly) and organisational (trust of the institution as a whole). Villagers believe the village headman hold responsibility for community activities, while the village headman believe that this responsibility should be shared across all levels of the government system.

Conclusions: It is essential for researchers to understand the structure and relationship within the community they wish to work with in order to develop trust among community participants. This aids effective communication and understanding among all parties, enabling high quality ethical research to be conducted.

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Challenges: There were challenges during the permission process for the CARE study. The permission had to be sought from all levels of the authority. There were many processes to be followed and this was time consuming. However, this is a very important process that needs to be done.

There were also some challenges during the analysis about the best way to explain and express the data. Therefore, comments from supervisors, and the critical friend who I met at the GHBN were important. They have given me a lot of ideas and the new ways to look at and explain the data.

Despite the challenges, I have learnt a lot from this project including the permissions process and data collection process. I have gained the ability to conduct interview confidently and to look at the community from different perspectives such as the researcher, the villagers and the village headmen.

The bursary project was very useful to me. I would recommend anyone to apply for this bursary because there are many skills that you will learn from experts across the mops. Also being part of the Global Health Bioethics Network, there are chances to really see how other people from different part of the world look at ethics, community engagement and how they evaluate those (from the summer school and the website). I believe that this network makes the massive impact by developing ethical solutions that can ensure that more ethical research is conducted in order to get more reliable quality data.  

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