The 4th BCA-WA-ETHICS Congress: the management of NRECs during health emergencies took place in Benin and virtually between 25 and 28 April. The congress had a total of 36 participants who were experts in research ethics, quality management, and gender mainstreaming. They represented Benin, Senegal, Niger, Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Mali, Kenya, Switzerland, and Spain.
During the congress, participants shared their experiences and best practices on the management of national ethics committees during health emergencies. They highlighted the importance of countering misinformation, strengthening ethical evaluation and governance, and using online tools to facilitate the work of NRECs. The presentations covered topics such as the management of ethics committees during COVID-19, the implementation of quality management systems, and the integration of gender dimensions into the governance and management of research ethics.
The congress participants concluded that there is a need to develop capacity and strategies to counter misinformation, especially during health emergencies.
They also emphasized the importance of improving ethical evaluation and governance through the development of guidelines, standard operating procedures, and quality management systems. Additionally, participants discussed the value of online tools and platforms such as RHInnO Ethics in improving the efficiency and quality of NREC evaluations.
The congress organizers are currently working on a roadmap that will share the lessons learned and recommendations from the congress. Additionally, a book of abstracts will be published soon, and the presentations will be made available on the project's website.