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A review of a South African research ethics committee

In this article Mahomed A Dada and Ruweida Moorad discuss the first review undertaken of the research ethics committee at the Nelson R. Mandela School of Medicine in Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa. The review aimed to provide insight into the structure, composition, procedures and workload of the committee, and to assess its strengths and weaknesses.

The findings of the review included a need to review membership of the committee so that it better reflected the demography of the region, and included representation from faith-based organisations and consumer groups, as well as a member with expertise in statistics and epidemiology.

Other findings included difficulties related to ongoing monitoring of research, concerns about consent and conflicts of interest, long delays in the turnaround of protocols and the need for formal training of committee members.

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