African history of research ethics violations: lessons for the future

Shitindo, Mercury ; Nabil, Farah ; Gasch Gallén, Ángel

Universidad de Zaragoza Zaragoza

Resumen: The history of colonialism, as well as the internationalisation of research over the past decades, have significantly influenced research ethics standards in African countries. (Kruger et al, 2014). Historically, developments of guidelines in research ethics, and ethics review processes, have often been reactive responses to critical events (i.e. ethics breaches) in medical research practice. According to Global Policy Forum - GPF (2014), Africa is a continent endowed with immense natural and human resources as well as great cultural, ecological and economic diversity but remains underdeveloped. World Population Review places Africa as the least- developed continent outside of Antarctica, with many of its countries still mired in issues including poverty, government corruption, and armed conflict (2022). Health is considered as a basis of development, therefore ‘‘good health is a cornerstone of economic progress, a multiplier of society’s human resources, and, ultimately, the primary objective of development’’ (Chen & Berlinguer, 2001), especially in developing countries. The capacity to develop local guidelines in developing countries may either not exist or be deemed unnecessary given the plethora of international guidelines. Despite such guidelines, there are limitations as to the extent to which they can be applied to research that involves human subjects. Research in developing countries creates a greater risk of exploitation as individuals or communities in developing countries assume the risks of research, whereas most of the benefits may accrue to people in developed countries (Wertheimer, 1999).

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