In a significant step towards fostering ethical research and data protection, MRC/UVRI & LSHTM Uganda Research Unit recently organized comprehensive training sessions on Good Clinical Practice (GCP), Good Clinical Laboratory Practice (GCLP) and General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) aimed at equipping researchers with essential knowledge and skills to conduct studies with integrity and emphasis on confidentiality, especially in regard to study participant data.
PhD fellows from Uganda Schistosomiasis Multidisciplinary Research Center (U-SMRC), the Vanguard project and staff from the Unit took part in the GCP training session that addressed key principles including protocol development, informed consent, adverse event reporting, drug development, essential documents and the responsibilities of various stakeholders involved in clinical research.
Through interactive sessions and real-life case studies, staff and PhD students gained a deep understanding of the importance of rigor, transparency, and patient safety in all aspects of their work.
The GCLP training equipped participants with a framework for the meticulous handling, storage, and analysis of laboratory samples with a thorough focus on pre analytical, analytical and post analytical processes. They were exposed to cutting-edge techniques, quality control measures, and risk management strategies, guaranteeing the integrity of laboratory-based investigations.
Mathew Odongo, a PhD fellow at U-SMRC highlighted the significance of equipping researchers with these essential skills. He said “These trainings serve as a reminder to scientists and researchers to prioritize ethics, integrity and data protection hence fostering a culture of responsible research conduct”.
In an increasingly data-driven world, the GDPR training emerged as a vital shield to protect the privacy and confidentiality of research subjects.
Dr Geofrey Kimbugwe, the Head of Research Governance at the Unit said ‘‘The impact of these trainings is profound and we are glad that Staff and PhD fellows have embraced the newfound knowledge and responsibilities, which in turn enables us to elevate the quality and integrity of research conducted within Uganda and the region’’.
The U-SMRC is a global partnership of research experts in schistosomiasis that seeks to develop a comprehensive understanding of the biological drivers of severe schistosomal morbidity. The MRC/UVRI & LSHTM Uganda Research Unit’s track record of high caliber research capacity building is an added advantage to propel forward the attainment of the overall goal.
VAnguard is comprised of a multidisciplinary Group of experts from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), East African partners at the forefront of building vaccine research capacity in the region: the Uganda Virus Research Institute (UVRI, Joint Lead) and Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) Wellcome Trust Research Programme (KWTRP). The Medical Research Council (MRC)/UVRI and LSHTM Uganda Research Unit (MUL), a close, on-campus partner of UVRI. We also collaborate with colleagues from Makerere University, Uganda Christian University (UCU), the Ugandan and Kenyan Ministries of Health (MoH) and expert collaborators.
The goal of the Vanguard project is to identify modifiable structural, social and biological determinants of impaired vaccine impact in vulnerable African communities, and hence to develop integrated strategies to address them and to drive health equity.
LSHTM's short and specifically designed courses provide the opportunity for intensive study in specialised topics.
These courses enable participants to refresh their skills and keep up to date with the latest research and knowledge in public and global health.