Mapping of ethics review capacity in sub-Saharan Africa (MARC)

What is the Project about?

The capacity to ethically review study protocols and provide ethical oversight of drug trials is a core component of responsible research systems. Each country and major institution involved in the conduct of clinical trials should have adequate capacity to conduct such ethics review. The MARC project aims to document this capacity in Africa, to promote the strengthening of capacity that exists, and to contribute to the development of African accreditation criteria.

National research and innovation systems should ensure that the research output of a country is excellent, ethical, equity promoting, relevant to national health and economic development priorities, and leads to health and health care improvements.

What is happening in the Project?

The project is mapping ethics review capacities, capacity building initiatives and drug regulatory authorities in sub-Saharan Africa. Based on the mapping information, the project is moving towards its phase of capacity strengthening for ethics review in Africa, which includes building linkages between African regional ethics training initiatives and active research ethics committees.

Project Achievements
The project has led to the creation of Research Ethics Web – a web-based platform that promotes knowledge-sharing in health research ethics. The platform means that the mapping exercise is not static as RECs are encouraged to update and upload their own data. The platform was developed by COHRED’s Web4Development team in Brazil.

Countries mapped – MARC has collected information on 155 Research Ethics Committees (RECs) in 34 countries and this information has been uploaded to Research Ethics Web.

PAHO (Pan American Health Organisation) has uploaded information on more than 1000 RECs in Latin American Countries. Eight RECs in four Caribbean countries have also joined.

The first meeting of African Administrators of Research Ethics Committees (AAREC) was held in September 2011 and put a spotlight on the key role of REC administrators. The meeting focused on increasing review efficiency and on adherence to high quality Standard Operating Procedures.

COHRED’s Partners

MARC is implemented in partnership with the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) in South Africa, in particular, its SARETI programme (South African Research Ethics Training Initiative).

How can you help?

There are ways through which you can support the work of COHRED within this programme. For more information, click here

For more information

COHRED Group Contacts
Boitumelo Mokgatla-Moipolai on email:
Also see the following: 
Mapping African Ethical Review Committee activity onto capacity needs