RHInnO Ethics Software Training Report for Nigerian Health Research Ethics Committees

Address: Banex Hotel & Suites, Maryland Lagos.
Date: 26th – 29th August, 2018

Members of the Deepening Research Ethics in Nigeria Project (DREIN) Consortium – a program supported by the European Development Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP) – organized a 3-day capacity development and training program for 5 Health Research Ethics Committees and the National Health Research Ethics Committee of Nigeria (NHREC) from the 26th of August to 29th of August 2018 at Banex Hotel, Lagos, Nigeria. The program is one of the work packages/deliverables of the DREIN project.

The program consisted of (a) deployment of an upgraded version of currently installed RHInnO Ethics software from version 1.2 to version 2.1 and (b) training of member of staff of the ethics committees on the use of the software. The RHInnO Ethics software enables the ethics committees to efficiently review research ethics protocols including those for complex clinical trials and report serious adverse events, online.

Training

The meeting started at 9:00 a.m. on 27th August, 2018. Mr. Olusegun Adeyemo of the Center for Bioethics and Research (CBR) welcomed participants and gave an overview of the Deepening Research Ethics in Nigeria Project and the RHInnO Ethics software. He then introduced the RHInnO Ethics software trainer from the Council on Health Research for Development (COHRED) Kenya – Mr. Francis Kombe, to the participants.

The training was officially declared open by Dr Margret Mafe on behalf of the Chairperson of NHREC, Prof Zubairu Iliyasu. In her opening remarks, Dr Margret Mafe thanked members of the Institutional Health Research Ethics Committees (HREC) for attending the training. She described the training as an important milestone towards digitalizing the operations of HRECs in Nigeria. She emphasized that the world is changing, and technology has contributed enormously to where the world is now. She noted that Nigeria currently lags in use of technology for health research ethics review. She enumerated some problems associated with the traditional manual systems, including but not limited to difficulty in reviewing bulky protocols, delay in sending out protocols to reviewers, challenges in storing ever-increasing printed protocols and long turnaround time.

Dr Mafe stressed the importance of transitioning to the RHInnO Ethics software as an important milestone towards the technological advancement of health research ethics committees in Nigeria and on the African continent. Mr. Francis Kombe started the training by taking participants through an overview of RHInnO Ethics software so they can appreciate the importance and benefits of transitioning from manual to an online ethics review system.

The training involved intensive participatory techniques, involving a do-it-yourself training approach that ensures every participant learned how the system worked by performing activities and navigating through the system. Participants were taught to develop applications and assign them to reviewers and have reviewers review the applications before a final decision was made by the committee. During the training, participants went through how to perform tasks for specific roles such as administrators, reviewers or researcher. They were able to understand and follow what different users do and the full cycle and functionality of the software.

One of the participants expressed concern about the number of questions a reviewer was required to respond to when carrying out a review. Other concerns that were mentioned included potential challenges associated with power outage and internet connectivity in Nigeria.

An important issue that was mentioned during the training was the need to ensure that ethics committees put in place some mechanism to ensure sustainability of the Software beyond the EDCTP support period and the DREIN Project. The committees were informed that the version of the RHInnO Ethics software that they would receive would be supported for two years only, therefore the committees need to come up with modalities to pay the annual subscription fees at expiration of ECDTP support in 2021.

Evaluation

Participants were asked to assess the training, software and their experience in it. Out of 23 participants that completed the evaluation forms, 83% rated the training as being useful for their work, while 17% did not respond to the question. 90% rated the internet connectivity at the venue as satisfactory while 10% rated it as unsatisfactory, 75% rated the logistics as satisfactory while 25% rated it as unsatisfactory. 80% rated the training instructor as satisfactory while 20% indicated that 2 instructors would have been better. 100% rated the food and venue as satisfactory.

All the participants confirmed that they would recommend the use of RHInnO Ethics in submitting protocols online. They confirmed that the training fully met their expectations and helped them to understand the platform and how to use it. They rated the training as very successful and liked that it was participatory and hands-on. They were able to learn practically, and this helped them to master the use of the software.

Closing

The training was officially closed by Dr. Margret Mafe at 2p.m on the 29th of August 2018 after a brief emphasis on the need for RECs to dedicate their effort to use the system, since it has already been financed by EDCTP through the DREIN Project. She advised committee members to gradually develop strategies to facilitate the payment of their annual subscription before the end of EDCTP support period. There was a group photograph at the end of the training session.

List of participants

Participants at the training included administrators, researchers and reviewers, and they were taught how to use the platform and supported to understand the functionalities of the software, as well as their roles and responsibilities. They are:

Participant’s Full Name Institution
Dr. Ahmed K. Oloyo College of Medicine, University of Lagos
Dr. Ayodele Ekun College of Medicine, University of Lagos
Mr. Hodefe P. Olufemi College of Medicine, University of Lagos
Mr. Ogunbamise Adebiyi College of Medicine, University of Lagos
Dr. Sani Aji Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital
Dr. Mrs. Zubaidu Farouk Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital
Mr. Abubakar S. Mahmud Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital
Mr. Labran Haruna Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital
Dr. Onochie I. Okoye University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital
Mr. Mazi Onyimba Eze University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital
Dr. Ngozi Chukwu University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital
Dr. Euzebus C. Ezuqwu University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital
Prof. Kolo P. M. University of Ilorin
Mrs. Adewunmi O. O. University of Ilorin
Mr. Yusuf Olarewnwaju Ahmed University of Ilorin
Mrs. F. O Bello University of Ilorin
Prof. Zubairu Iliyasu National Health Research Ethics Committee
Dr. Margret Mafe National Health Research Ethics Committee
Barr. Laolu Osanyin National Health Research Ethics Committee
Mr. Ado Danladi National Health Research Ethics Committee
Dr. Vincent Adam University of Benin Teaching Hospital
Dr. Ehigha Enabudoso University of Benin Teaching Hospital
Mr. Emmanuel Ikpe University of Benin Teaching Hospital
Mrs. Margaret Sunday-Temitope University of Benin Teaching Hospital