The Dodowa Health Research Centre’s Institutional Review Board (DHRC IRB) was established in 2011 with funding from the European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP). This was due to the need to enhance research activities within the Centre and to protect the interest of community members in the Shai-Osudoku and Ningo - Prampram districts of the Greater Accra Region and beyond.
The primary objective of the IRB is to protect the wellbeing of potential research participants and to promote ethical research. The IRB is mandated to review, approve, require modifications, monitor and disapprove research activities conducted by researchers using human participants. Thus the IRB’s operations are guided by the principles of autonomy, beneficence, nonmalficence and justice as well as other internationally recognised guidelines.
Since inception of the board’s operations;
- Attention has been drawn to the fact that research/studies done in the districts should have ethical clearance before starting and progressing further. The District Health Directorate and the Local government authority have been briefed formally about the IRB and staff of these two institutions refer all prospective researchers to the IRB secretariat to seek ethical approval prior to the commencement of their studies.
- The board has also served and continue to serve as a platform to educate researchers and other relevant stakeholders with little or no knowledge about research ethics and more importantly the relevance of an IRB.
- There has been improvement in the quality of proposals submitted from the Centre to the National Ethical Review committee. The board also serves as a means of validation for researchers who come into the district to conduct research in an ethical manner.
The seven (7) member board currently comprises of well trained and experienced members namely; representative from the media, Pharmacist, Nutritionist, (2) Medical Doctors, Biostatistician, Epidemiologist and a Community Representative.
Currently, the board meets every other month and whenever there is the need, an expedited review is carried out. Since the inception of its operation, the IRB has reviewed several proposals ranging from Social sciences and Biomedical studies.