The National Ambulance Service (NAS) has inaugurated an 8-member institutional review board (IRB) that will champion ethical research and enhance the work of the service to make a positive impact on society.
The first of its kind in the service responsible for assisting the service to advance knowledge in its work by critically evaluating and monitoring all research projects involving human subjects.
The board is to ensure that the service research meets the highest ethical and scientific standards while safeguarding the rights, safety and well-being of the research participants.
At a short ceremony in Accra, the Board Chairman of NAS, Nana Wiafe Ababio, disclosed that the Service was to embark on various research projects that would ensure that their activities were conducted ethically and in accordance with established guidelines.
The selected members of the board, he said, were individuals who were passionate about ethical research and would bring together their diverse expertise from various fields to critically asses the ethical aspects of research proposals.
They were to assess research proposals to ensure that participants provided informed consent voluntarily without coercion and with a comprehensive understanding of the potential risks and benefits involved.
“The NAS IRB will scrutinise research proposals to ensure that vulnerable populations are not proportionately subjected to risk and that the selection of participants is equitable,” he said.
The NAS, Mr Ababio said, was focused on conducting research that was not only scientifically rigorous but morally sound.
Explaining further, the board chairman said establishing the IRB was not just a regulatory obligation but a moral imperative because although the researchers had the privilege of exploring the unknown, they were to ensure that the pursuit of knowledge was conducted ethically and responsibly.
“This momentous occasion is a testament to our commitment to uphold the highest standards of ethics, integrity and responsible research practices,” he said.
Members of the board
Members of the board were Prof. Aaron Lawson, Director of Simulation, University of Ghana Medical Centre (UGMC), as the chairman of the review board; Prof. Elvis Tiburu, Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Ghana; Prof. Ahmed Nuhu Zakariah, CEO of NAS; and Dr Felicia Birch Freeman, Deputy Regional Coordinator of NAS.
Others are Alhaj Inua Yussif, Head of the legal department of the Ministry of Health; Anass Shieba Seidu, Head of news and current affairs production at Asaase Radio; Mohammed Najeeb Mahama Acting Head of Research, NAS; and Fati Masoud Salifu, Deputy Director, Training and Development, NAS.
The board’s commitment to upholding the principles of respect, beneficence and justice, Mr Ababio said, was crucial in maintaining public trust and the integrity of the NAS.
The chairman of IRB, on behalf of the other members, thanked the service for reposing confidence in the board, assuring that they would work hard to achieve their mandate and “move the national ambulance service to another level”.