There has been a range of developments in recent years to stimulate increasing public health research activity throughout the Pacific. Development of local capacity for ethics committee review and oversight is, however, frequently underdeveloped. This is reflected in the number of Pacific Island nations where ethics committees have not been established or where only informal processes exist for ethics review and oversight. This is problematic for the optimal development of relevant and culturally appropriate research, and building up local ethics committees should be part of continued research development in the Pacific. Three areas in which local ethics committees may add value are 1) offering better capacity to reflect local priorities, 2) providing broader benefits for research capacity building, and 3) assisting to strengthen systems beyond research ethics. This article considers benefits and challenges for ethics committees in the Pacific, and suggests directions for regional development to further strengthen public health research activity.
Keywords: research ethics, Pacific Islands, operational research, public health, ethics
J. T. Denholm, K. Bissell, K. Viney, A. M. Durand, H. L. Cash, C. Roseveare, O. E. Merilles, Jr., A. D. Harries and S. Biribo (2017) Research ethics committees in the Pacific Islands: gaps and opportunities for health sector strengthening. Public Health Action. 2017 Mar 21; 7(1): 6–9. Published online 2017 Mar 21. doi: 10.5588/pha.16.0076 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5526493/