Enrolment and Retention of African Women in Biomedical Research: the Challenges
In Africa, women have had minimal participation in biomedical research especially in clinical trials despite the epidemiologic realities of the trends and burden of diseases in the continent. The purpose of this paper is to critically examine the challenges as well as suggesting ways of over-coming them in recruiting and retainingAfrican women in biomedical research. Relevant biomedical research literatures on Human Research Participants from Scirus, Pubmed and Medline computerized search were critically evaluated and highlighted. Information was also obtained from
research ethics training as well as texts and journals in the medical libraries of the research ethics departments of the Universities of Pretoria, Kwazulu-Natal, Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics Baltimore and Kennedy Institute of Bioethics Georgetown University, Washington
DC. Studies reviewed have shown that African women have an unfair participation in biomedical research. Efforts in enrolling and retaining women in biomedical research are hampered by chain reactions of
events viz: gender perception, cultural barriers, ignorance and fear of adverse event, limited autonomy to give consent, lack of confidentiality especially in sensitive trials, and improper research design.
Women need to participate in clinical trials because of their different biological and physiological make-up which require proper information about the effects of drugs on their bodies. A variety of harm may
therefore ensue from failure to include adequate numbers of women in biomedical research such as exposure to ineffective treatment, occurrence of unexpected sideeffects and delayed diagnosis and early treatment of
Keywords: Biomedical research; African women; Participation; Challenges