STReK project mentorship programme on research ethics
The University of Nairobi (UoN) in partnership with the National Commission for Science, Technology and Innovation (NACOSTI) and Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) received a grant from EDCTP to build the capacity of newly established Research Ethics Committees (RECs) in a project titled “Strengthening Research Ethics Oversight in Kenya (STReK).”
One of the key activities was to conduct mentorship for members from accredited Research Ethics Committees. In this regard, UoN and NACOSTI developed a mentorship guide with tools and a mentorship logbook to be used by the selected mentees during the programme. This mentorship programme was aimed at sharing experiences, knowledge sharing and building more capacity on research ethics. This was achieved through a number of consultative meetings and stakeholder forums. The mentorship guide also underwent review by the NACOSTI National Bioethics Committee. The research ethics committee mentor institutions that were selected, based on experience, for this programme were: 1) University of Nairobi-Kenyatta National Hospital; 2) Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital/Moi University; and 3) Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI).
Once the mentorship guide was fully developed, research ethics committee mentee institutions were identified and invitations were sent out to proposed accredited REC institutions to nominate a mentee to participate in the programme. Initially, it was proposed to mentor 22 mentees from accredited institutions, but after sending invitations to the institutions, it was agreed to mentor up to 27 members. The selected mentee institutions include: Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Kisii Teaching and Referral Hospital, AIC Kijabe Hospital, Dedan Kimathi University of Technology, Chuka University, Mount Kenya University, University of Kabianga, United States International University, Kabarak University, Great Lakes University of Kisumu, Gertrudes Children Hospital, Alupe University, Kenya Methodist University, Daystar University, Africa Medical and Research Foundation (AMREF), Africa International University, Maseno University, Tenwek Hospital, Kenyatta University, St Paul’s University, Technical University of Mombasa, Pwani University, Laikipia University, Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Referral Hospital, Jaramogi Oginga Odinga University of Science & Technology, Masinde Muliro University of Science & Technology and the University of Eastern Africa of Baraton.
STReK organised a Mentors Stakeholder’s Forum on 20 September 2022. The purpose was to meet all mentors and present the mentorship guide for their input. After this meeting, two other meetings were organised for mentors to meet with the mentees and also take mentees through the mentorship guide and logbook. One of the meetings was held in Nairobi on 4 October 2022 while the other meeting was held in Kisumu on 7 October 2022 targeting RECs that are centered in that region. After these successful meetings, mentors have now been having virtual engagements with their mentees to take them through the mentorship programme. A mentorship stakeholder’s forum is also planned to follow up on the progress of the programme.