The Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) is the principal regional institution charged with providing strategic direction in analyzing, defining and responding to the public health priorities of Member States. Research is one of its core functions and it has a responsibility to facilitate the establishment of systems that ensure that all studies conducted in its Member States comply with the highest ethical standards. These systems will include facilities for the independent review of the ethical acceptability of research involving humans to ensure that participants’ rights, dignity, safety and well-being are protected. CARPHA’s roles include building capacity in its Member States to establish and manage research ethics committees as well as hosting an independent Committee.CARPHA’s Research Ethics Committee (REC) will provide ethical oversight for research involving human participants conducted under its auspices, that is, research conducted by staff or funded by CARPHA. Upon request, the services of the REC will also be extended to CARPHA Member States (CMS).
The Committee will provide independent review of the ethical acceptability of research on behalf of CARPHA, that is, approve, reject, propose modification or terminate any ongoing or proposed research involving human participants to be conducted under CARPHA’S auspices or and within its jurisdiction.
Decision-making on research submitted for review will be based on:
For a research programme involving human participants to be considered “ethical”, it must meet all the following seven (7) requirements for research with human participants:l. Value. The research project must be scientiﬁcally or socially valuable (e. g. improved health-related infrastructure, capacity-building). It could also lead to an increase in the body of knowledge available to policy makers, program managers, health practitioners, or the general public.2. Scientiﬁc validity. The research must be conducted in a rigorous and valid scientiﬁc manner.3. Fair selection of research participants.The participants in the research should be chosen only because of their relation to the subject being researched, and not because they are easily accessible.4. A favourable risk beneﬁt ratio. A person’s participation in research should be accompanied by a favourable balance of potential beneﬁts and potential harm.5. Respect for persons. This requires that a person’s choice be respected, and that persons incapable of making their own choices be protected. It also includes respect for a person’s right to withdraw from the research process, and conﬁdentiality of personal information.6. Informed consent. All the requirements for “informed consent” should be met.7. Independent review of the research.All research should be subjected to review by a group of persons independent of the researchers, before the start of any research.An eighth (8th) requirement exists when the research involves international collaboration:8. Collaborative partnership. Overseas and local collaborators share the responsibility for determining the health problem and value of the research to the local community, for respecting the community’s values and traditions, and ensuring that the enrolled participants and the community receive fair beneﬁts from the conduct of the research.
Decisions taken by the REC should emerge from thorough and inclusive discussion and deliberation with fair exchange of opinion and ideas.
Bioethics Society of the Eastern Caribbean (BSEC): Templates for Establishing Research Ethics Committees in the Caribbean [Internet] [cited July 2013]. Available from:Brown S. Standard Operating Procedures. South Metropolitan Health Service [Internet]: 2010 [cited July 2013] Available from:College of Health Sciences. Standard Operating Procedures for Institutional Research & Ethics Committee. Eldoret, Kenya, [cited July 2013] Available from:Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, and Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. Tri Council Policy Statement (TCPS2): Ethical Conduct of Research Involving Humans, December 2010Pan American Health Organization (PAHO). Ethics Review Committee Standard Operating Procedures for submitting Research Proposals. [Internet]. Washington, USA: 2009 [cited September 2013] Available from:World Health Organization (WHO). Standards and Operational Guidelines for Ethics Review of Health-Related Research with Human Participants. [Internet]. Geneva, Switzerland: 2012 [cited September 2013] Available from:The World Medical Association (WMA) Declaration of Helsinki – Ethical Principles for Medical Research involving Human Subjects – Oct. 2013Available from:The Belmont Report – 1979Available from:The Council of International Organization of Medical Sciences (CIOMS) – 2002 Available from: