Rwanda National Ethics Committee

The NHSSRC is mandated to coordinate the review of the scientific part of every health research and development proposal submitted for review as stipulated in these guidelines. The entire process of receiving, reviewing and approving proposals is determined by NHSSRC. NHSSRC exclusively reviews all health research proposals to verify if they are scientifically sound or require the use of human participants. Any health research and development proposal that requires the use of human participants is exclusively sent to the RNEC or any competent Rwandan IRB for review before implementation.

However, with the advent in health research, there is a constant need to update and equip the committee on emerging issues and appropriate skills required in the protocol review process. RNEC have had some training and workshops in previous years, but not only were they insufficient, but also most members that benefited from this training have finished their service period. This leaves new members that have not participated in any ethics training in addition to key gaps related to infrastructure and skill mix of the RNEC and the regulatory authority. Additionally, there is currently only one functional National Ethics Committee and four University Teaching Hospitals, the University of Rwanda and four private Universities (total 8 RECs) that are able to conduct the review in the whole of Rwanda. This project aims at filling these important gaps.

The NHSSRC in collaboration with the Medical Research Centre at Rwanda Biomedical Centre (RBC) team has the responsibility to ensure that the conduct of all approved research is monitored. The committee requires annual reports from the Principal Investigator after which annual approval is given for the study to continue. All monitoring reports must be submitted to the NHSSRC.