Indian researchers are set to play a key role in setting the agenda for ethics in health research in southeast Asia. The ICMR’s bio-ethics unit at Bengaluru has been designated as a “WHO collaborating centre” for strengthening ethics in biomedical and health research.
The unit, located at the ICMR-National Centre for Disease Informatics and Research (NCDIR), Bengaluru, would be the first centre in 11 countries in the Southeast Asia Region of WHO to be recognised for its work in the area of health research ethics, the ICMR said in a statement.
In the field of health research, the area of ethics has come to the fore in recent years. This includes basic sciences, infectious diseases, outbreaks, maternal and child health or non-communicable diseases, injuries and other areas. “The Bengaluru centre will lead the work in identifying and setting priorities for the region in considering ethical values, providing guidance and leadership towards promoting excellence in ethical aspects of biomedical research. It will play a pivotal role for developing tools and processes to set up research, innovation and education in ethics,” an ICMR spokesperson said.
Dr Roli Mathur, head, ICMR Bioethics Unit, said, “The collaboration will be a key to ensure that better research outcomes are achieved along with safeguarding individual preference. This centre will work to protect the rights, welfare, safety and dignity of research participants in biomedical and health research.”
In recent years, the ICMR Bioethics Unit at NCDIR Bengaluru has played a “leading role” in developing several ethical guidelines and policies such as the national ethical guidelines for biomedical and health research, according to ICMR.
“It has also been involved in the preparation of tools to improve ethics committee functions such as common forms and taken numerous initiatives for building the capacity of researchers across the country, by reaching out to over 7,000 stakeholders in the last two years,” the ICMR spokesperson said.-The Week