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COHRED Africa office prioritises research ethics

The Council of Health Research for Development Africa office that was opened in Botswana this month will prioritise health research ethics.

Biotumelo Mokgatla-Moipolia, the director of COHRED Africa, said at its launch on 6 November that health research ethics remain a pressing problem for the continent.

Some countries don’t have the legislation, skills or finances to conduct ethical reviews for clinical trials, she said

She said COHRED will expand initiatives such as the ethics version of its Research for Health and Innovation Organiser to train policymakers to speed up applications for ethical reviews.

RHinnO stores and manages data that include projects and proposals, in a way that enables users to easily retrieve, share and analyse it.

A Fair Research Contracting Initiative to provide guidelines to help researchers in low- and middle-income countries to negotiate fair contracts in partnerships and grants is also in the pipeline.

A Fairness Index will be launched to rate and rank collaborative research partnerships, COHRED Africa delegates told the meeting.

COHRED’s CEO, Karel Ijsselmuiden, said COHRED Africa’s platforms will help institutions become more competitive.

"If Africa is really rising now, that should be reflected in investment in infrastructure in science and research,” he said.

Some participants from West Africa were unable to attend the launch because of travel restrictions imposed in response to the Ebola outbreak.

“Ebola leads to cries for an increase in research but the research system should have dealt with this problem 40 years ago,” Ijsselmuiden said.