This paper, recently published on the Italian Journal of Tropical Medicine
(Vol 15, N 1-4, 2010), reports on a workshop held by the Switching the Pole
Clinical Research Network. This Network, hosted by the Antwerp Institute of
Tropical Medicine, brings together researchers from twelve different
countries. The workshop was held to assess the challenges of ethical review
and of the informed consent process in vulnerable populations.

In our opinion,a systematic approach is needed in the ethical review of
North-South collaborative research, promoting trust among research partners
and improving the efficiency of international practices, while building
communication strategies across traditional geographical boundaries and power
structures. At the moment, the double ethical review of research sponsored or
funded by Northern organizations in resource-poor settings can minimize the
risk of double standard practices and enhance the protection of study
participants and populations.

Guidance is also needed to prevent the exploitation of vulnerable populations
in health research; in particular those whose participation is not based on a
free choice but on the necessity to access otherwise inaccessible medical
care or other benefits.

We hope that the issues raised can feed a debate leading to better guiding
principles on health research in resource constrained settings, and we are
confident that is an ideal platform to promote such a

This article originally appears on the Global Health Trials resources. Please visit us for more resources relating to trials.



  1. R. Ravinetto, H. Tinto, N. Rouamba, A. Talisuna, Y. A DoKe, A KaDima eBeJa,  V. MaKeta, K. P. Grietens,  a. Buvé,  f. Crawley, Health research: the challenges related to ethical review
    and informed consent in developing countries GIORNALE ITALIANO DI MEDICINA TROPICALE Vol 15, N 1-4, 2010




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