Aga Khan University don urges researchers to stick to ethics  

Prof Elizabeth Anne Bukusi (R-seated) poses for a photo with other implementing partners during the launch of the SERCEA project held in Kampala on August 2, 2023. PHOTO | JANE NAFULA 

Ms Elizabeth Anne Bukusi, an honorary lecturer at the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Aga Khan University, Nairobi Kenya, has said researchers should conduct research with integrity so that authenticity of their findings is not questioned by citizens.

“Research must be done well with integrity so that when we as researchers recommend a new drug, vaccine or product, citizens are able to appreciate it,” Prof Bukusi said.

Speaking at the launch of a project of strengthening ethics and responsible conduct of clinical trials in East and Sub-Saharan Africa (SERCEA) held in Kampala on Wednesday, Ms Bukusi said people’s lives can be put at risk if research ethics are neglected.

“People complain about the issues of corruption and shortcuts. People’s lives can be put at risk if we are not doing things in the right way,” Ms Bukusi who doubles as the Chief Researcher Officer and Co-director of Research Care and Training Program Centre for Microbiology Research in Nairobi said.

Ms Hellen Apolot, the head of Research Management and Quality Assurance at the National Council for Science and Technology, said research that can easily be manipulated are clinical trials.

Ms Apolot who doubles as SERCEA project lead said that some students and lecturers have also complained about research misconduct.

“We have come to realize that there is so much plagiarism and falsification in publications which is a great concern for our researchers,” she said.

Ms Apolot said the new project will strengthen regulatory capacity through the establishment of frameworks on research integrity and open science.

In addition, an e-learning platform for good research regulatory practice would be established.

The three-year project supported by the European Commission and Global Health ( EDCTP3) will be coordinated by the University of Maastricht-Netherlands with National Council for Science and technology as the scientific lead.

According to Ms Apolot, the project will be implemented in partnership with Kenya Medical Research Institute, Tanzania Commission for Science and Technology and Malawi Kamuzu University of Health Sciences.     

Gowri Gopalakrishna, assistant Professor at the Department of Epidemiology, Faculty of health, medicine and life sciences at Maastricht University said it is critical for researchers to ensure that their works are relevant.