Dear Participants, Partners and Collaborators,
With support of EDCTP, TRREE was involved in a workshop on « Harmonization of Standard Operating Procedures for Research Ethics Committees in Cameroon » that was held at Hotel Meumi in Yaoundé, June 27 -29, 2012. The program was under the direction of Professor Lazare Kaptue and included representatives from 10 of the 14 Research Ethics Committees (REC) in Cameroon, as well as representatives from various Universities (Yaoundé, Douala, Buea, Dschang, UdM/Bangangté). Along experts from Cameroon, the organizers invited two international specialists, namely Prof. Sylvie Hansel-Esteller, Comité de Protection des Personnes from the University of Montpellier (France) and Prof. Dominique Sprumont, TRREE coordinator from the University of Neuchâtel (Switzerland).
Prior to the meeting, the participants received a first draft SOPs that had been prepared by Dr Marceline Djuidje Ngounoue, Lecturer, University of Yaoundé I, Dr Jérôme Ateudjieu, Lecturer, University of Dschang, Dr Charles Fokunang, Vice-Dean/Acting Dean, University of Bamenda and Mr Chi Primus Che, Centre for Research on Civil War, Oslo, Norway. After a reminder of the nature and purposes of SOPs for Research Ethics Committees and an update on the international and national guidelines and regulations of research ethics evaluation, the participants were divided in two groups to work on (1) the procedural aspects of the SOPs and (2) issues linked to the informed consent process and the protection of the research participants. After hardwork and lively discussions, the groups were brought back together during the last day to share their work in plenum. Everyone was invited to react and each proposal was approved by all the participants. Based on intensive exchanges and a deep concern to provide the RECs in Cameroon with SOPs that meet their needs and are in line with the highest international standards, the workshop managed to reach its objectives. A completed version of the SOPs is presently in circulation among the workshop’s participants for their final approval and should be implemented by the end of the summer.
If need be, this workshop demonstrated the high level of competency and preparedness of the RECs in Cameroon. It will surely facilitate the implementation of their new organization based on the “Order No. 0977/A/MINSANTE/SESP/SG/DROS / 18 April 2012 the creation, organization and functioning of Research Ethics Committees for human health within the structures of the Ministry in charge of Public Health”. It will especially help the newly founded National Ethics Committee for Human Health Research – which composition was approved by decision of the Minister of Public Health on July 13, 2012 – starting its work in the best condition.
When available, the new SOPs for Research Ethics Committees will certainly be a source of inspiration for other RECs in the sub-region. In case they have not yet gone through such a process of harmonization of their procedure at the national level, the workshop from Yaoundé could certainly be used as an example. This may indeed be a good opportunity to ask support from EDCTP or other funding agencies…
Coordinateur TRREE Coordinator