Knowledge and perception of health research ethics among health care professionals at Greys hospital Pietermaritzburg – South Africa.
El-Koha, Omran Ali.
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To explore familiarity and awareness of codes and regulations related to the conduct and practice of research ethics among health care professionals. Furthermore, to establish the level of knowledge of research ethics and relate that to research experience and level of training in research ethics A survey based study of 20 self-administered questionnaires about reported and actual knowledge of research ethics was distributed to various categories of staff at Greys hospital using convenience sample. In total 152 questionnaires were distributed. The study was approved by the biomedical and research ethics committee (BREC) of UKZN. Data were collected and entered into SPSS (version 20). Data were analysed using frequencies, cross tabulations, Pearson’s coefficient and one way analysis of variance (ANOVA). The completed questionnaires were returned by 103 participants with a total response rate of 67.7%. Doctors comprised 55% of all responses. Consultants, medical officers, and registrars formed 28.16%, 21.36%, 5.83% of the sample respectively. Nurses contributed 12.6% of all responses. 65.05% of the respondents were females, whereas 32.04% were males. Only 18% had full knowledge of informed consent. 68 % knew about research ethics committees, but the majority were not aware of its structure and function. Results clearly indicated an inadequate knowledge of ethics guidelines, and the majority of respondents had either little or very little knowledge on all the ethical codes and guidelines. Council for international organisations for medical sciences (CIOMS) appeared to be the least known and World Health Organisation (WHO) the most known of all guidelines. Twenty percent of respondents reported to have no research experience. Results also showed positive correlation between knowledge of ethics in general and training and research experience. The study concluded that the level of knowledge and awareness of research ethics among health care professionals at Greys hospital was generally poor. Therefore, improvements in research ethics education is recommended for health care professionals at all levels. Furthermore, larger studies are needed to confirm these findings.