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As part of a new initiative, Global Health Trials will be running an 'issue of the month', where we will discuss a pertinent issue within clinical research. This month, we are talking about the issue of parental consent in households where minors are holding a parental role. Tell us about your experiences!
In many countries, families are prevalent where minors (usually 16 and younger) are assuming a parental role, with parents absent or deceased. In these situations, obtaining parental informed consent and assent for the 'parent' child or other children in the household is difficult. In this situation, who should give consent? The school, a health worker, a family friend? Who gives assent?
What do you do? Tell us your experiences.
Hi there - in a trial we conducted in rural South Africa we had to work with the community as well as the local ethics committee to set up systems that did not further disadvantage children in house-headed households by preventing them from taking part in important research. This, briefly, involved setting up community support committees who could adjudicate situations where children were being looked after by other adults or did not have adults in their household. The committee was comprised of local religious and community leaders, and could make recommendations about the appropriate adults to provide consent for minors to take part in research.