In the last decade, Lusophone Africa countries, like other African countries, have seen an increase in medical research, which has led to the establishment of Bioethics Committees (BoCs) in Universities, Research Centres and Ministries of Health. However, the BoCs in Lusophone countries still lack training in bioethics, and as the main educational resources in this area are only available in English, they are not accessible in these countries.
Being aware of these challenges, and while recognising that strengthening CoBs should be primarily a national issue, much can be gained through the establishment of an institutional network. Accordingly, the National Bioethics Committee for Health in Mozambique, the Faculty of Medicine at the University Eduardo Mondlane and its institutional Bioethics Committee, the Faculty of Medicine at the University Agostinho Neto and its Bioethics Committee, the University of Cape Verde, the NOVA Institute of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and NOVA School of Law have established a north-south consortium to strengthen the bioethics framework for clinical trials and health research in Lusophone African Countries (LAL).
The aim of this project is to strengthen capacity for the ethical evaluation of medical research in LSPs. More specifically, the objectives are: to improve the institutional and personal capacity of the BoCs of 3 Lusophone African countries; to increase the efficiency of the assessment of applications for clinical trials/medical research; to promote collaborative activities/networking in bioethics in Lusophone countries; the sharing of good practices in Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), review of protocols and ethical and legal norms and standards, as well as the creation of an Institutional Evaluation Directorate at the University of Cape Verde.
These objectives will be achieved through the implementation of several surveys, self-assessment and brainstorming tools; the promotion of several training workshops; the creation of online educational resources on bioethics in Portuguese; the establishment of an online platform for evaluation of applications in Portuguese; the production of Procedural Guides and other documents in Portuguese to support the work of the CoBs; the creation of a collaborative website in Portuguese where information on bioethics will be available to the general public (CoB members, researchers, students and civil society) and where the main activities of the Lusophone Africa CoB Network will be shared, in line with recent initiatives in the Lusophone world, such as the Malanje Declaration and the Mozambique Charter.
The main actions of this project thus aim to support sub-Saharan Portuguese-speaking countries to establish and develop a more robust institutional capacity for the bioethical evaluation of medical research.
National Bioethics Committee for Health (Mozambique – Principal Proponent Institution)
NOVA Institute of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (Participating Institution)
NOVA School of Law (Participating Institution)
Universidade Agostinho Neto (Angola – Participant Institution)
Eduardo Mondlane University (Mozambique – Participant Institution)
University of Cape Vert (Cape Vert – Participating Institution)
João Schwalbach (National Bioethics Committee for Health – Coordinator)
Maria do Rosário Oliveira Martins (IHMT-UNL)
Ema Cândida Branco Fernandes (Universidade Agostinho Neto)
Emanuel Catumbela (Agostinho Neto University)
Tazi Nimi Maria (Agostinho Neto University)
Isabel Inês Monteiro de Pina Araújo (University of Cape Verde)
Zulmira Hartz (IHMT-UNL)
Amílcar Bernardo Tomé da Silva (Agostinho Neto University)
Maria Chimpolo (Agostinho Neto University)
Rassul Nala (National Bioethics Committee for Health)
Jahit Sacarlal (Eduardo Mondlane University)
Jorge Seixas (IHMT-UNL)
Helena Pereira de Melo (FDUNL)
Esperança Sevene (Eduardo Mondlane University)
April 2018 to March 2021
Funded by: European & Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP), funded by the European Union
Amount of funding: 291496 euros