The Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research Institutional Review Board (NMIMR-IRB) was established in 2000 as part of a requirement for collaborative research with a US funded project (NIH). This establishment took effect in consultation with the College of Health Sciences, University of Ghana after it’s meeting on the 13th November, 2001. The NMIMR-IRB is an independent and competent body set up to review, evaluate and decide on the ethical merits of research protocols ensuring and guaranteeing the rights, dignity, safety and protection of all individuals and communities who participate in research activities. The IRB reviews both internal and external research protocols received from NMIMR, School of Nursing, School of Public Health, School of Allied Health, University of Ghana Medical Schools, private organizations, individual researchers and protocols outside the Ghana.
The composition of the IRB is as follows:
• Religious Body Representing the larger Community
• Medical Doctor
The IRB follows a structured protocol that clearly outlines terms of reference, membership, meetings and criteria for protocol reviews.
The Officers of IRB comprise the Chair, Vice Chair and the Administrator. This body has a permanent Secretariat at NMIMR which is manned by the IRB administrator.
Currently, all the activities of the IRB are funded by NMIMR. The board meets six times within a year (Every other month) and a number of expedited reviews occur as and when necessary.Currently, on the average 60 protocols are reviewed every year with 60% percent forming student’s protocols. Majority (70%) of the protocols reviewed are biomedical whilst 30% are of social or behavioral research. Statistics have shown that the chances of a protocol receiving a first time clearance are about 85%. So far the major cause of failure to obtain IRB clearance has been attributed to reasons such as poorly written informed consent, targeting vulnerable population without adequate protection, poorly written methodology which compromise participants safety, no clearly defined objectives to achieve anticipatedresults, use of technical language in the consent form and lack of CV of Principal investigators (PI).
A protocol submitted by PIs from within NMIMR should have been approved by the scientific and Technical Committee (STC) of NMIMR.
All applicants for IRB clearance must submit the following for consideration:
• CVs of all Investigators with a cover letter signed by the Principal Investigator
• An Informed Consent Form for Potential Research Participants (Subjects).
• Fill out Form A, which can be downloaded from Noguchi website.