Preventing ethics dumping: the challenges for Kenyan research ethics committees

Chatfield, Kate orcid iconORCID: 0000-0001-8109-0535, Schroeder, Doris orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-3633-2758, Guantai, Anastasia, Bhatt, Kirana, Bukusi, Elizabeth, Odhiambo, Joyce Adhiambo, Cook, Julie orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-6391-5430 and Kimani, Joshua (2021) Preventing ethics dumping: the challenges for Kenyan research ethics committees. Research Ethics, 17 (1). pp. 23-44. ISSN 1747-0161

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Ethics dumping is the practice of undertaking research in a low- or middle-income setting which would not be permitted, or would be severely restricted, in a high-income setting. Whilst Kenya operates a sophisticated research governance system, resource constraints and the relatively low number of accredited research ethics committees limit the capacity for ensuring ethical compliance. As a result, Kenya has been experiencing cases of ethics dumping. This article presents 11 challenges in the context of preventing ethics dumping in Kenya, namely variations in governance standards, resistance to double ethics review, resource constraints, unresolved issues in the management of biological samples, unresolved issues in the management of primary data, unsuitable informed consent procedures, cultural insensitivity, differing standards of care, reluctance to provide feedback to research communities, power differentials which facilitate the exploitation of local researchers and lack of local relevance and/or affordability of the resultant products. A reflective approach for researchers, built around the values of fairness, respect, care and honesty, is presented as a means of taking shared responsibility for preventing ethics dumping.

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