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African Journal of AIDS Research

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The ethical and legal regulation of HIV-vaccine research in Africa: lessons from Cameroon, Malawi, Nigeria, Rwanda and Zambia

Pamela Andanda, Paschal Awah, Paul Ndebele, Olanrewaju Onigbogi, Daniel Udatinya, Malala Mwondela

Abstract


Ethical and legal frameworks are important for ensuring that the goals of scientific research are realised while at the same time the rights and welfare of human participants are adequately protected. A balance in attaining these two  goals can be achieved if such frameworks provide for legally binding structures  and processes to oversee, regulate, and monitor research on human participants according to accepted norms and standards. From 2007 to 2009, an ethical/legal audit, sponsored by the WHO/UNAIDS Ethics, Law and Human Rights Working  Group of the African AIDS Vaccine Programme (AAVP ELH), was conducted in  regard to five African countries (Cameroon, Malawi, Nigeria, Rwanda and Zambia) to determine whether these countries have adequate laws, ethical guidelines and policies in place to regulate HIV-vaccine research. This article  discusses the findings of the audit with a view to highlighting key lessons that  can be learnt from these countries. The article provides the context of the audit by highlighting its rationale, aims and methods. We discuss the general findings of the audit and the complex issues arising from HIV-vaccine research, specifically. Lastly, we propose specific ways in which the ethical/legal frameworks guiding research with human participants in these countries can be improved.

Keywords: Africa, clinical trials, country profiles, ethics, guidelines, health research, HIV/AIDS, legislation, policy

African Journal of AIDS Research 2011, 10(4): 451–463



http://dx.doi.org/10.2989/16085906.2011.646660
AJOL African Journals Online