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An assessment of the extent to which research participants are made to understand informed consent in kapseret, uasin gishu county, kenya

Author: 
Katwa, Jospeh Kigen
Subject Area: 
Health Sciences
Abstract: 

Ethical research demands that, among other things, the researcher obtains informed consent from the research participants before engaging them in research. This requirement is enforced by the Institutional Review Board (IRB) on behalf of the Government of Kenya through the National Council for Science and Technology (NCST). To enforce this, the IRB demands that consent form be attached to the proposal for it to be approved. The presence of a consent form is a reassurance that the researcher will provide adequate information to the participant. It seems that in most cases, research participants do give uninformed consent, as was evidenced by certain cases where participants seemed not to have understood the content of the consent forms they signed. There are instances where participants have taken part in research programmes whose aims they did not understand in the first place. In worse cases, some participants may not even be aware that they are involved in research for which they have given consent to participate in. Such cases are common in various parts of the world where health research is conducted and Kenya is no exception. The main objective of this research was to examine the extent to which research participants who had been involved in research before were made to understand informed consent before they accepted to participate in the research. A cross sectional study was done using in-depth interviews and qualitative data. Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) were used for data collection. The target population comprised exclusively people who had participated in health-related research and who resided at Kapseret in Uasin Gishu County, Kenya. Snowball sampling method was used to select 102 participants, both male and female. The respondents were divided into 12 focus groups discussion groups of 8 to 9 members each. To have homogeneous groups, gender, age and educational level were considered when forming the groups. To enable the FGDs to discuss intimate issues freely, participants of the same age group were placed together. Males and females were grouped separately. Collected data was transcribed and FGD-generated themes were finally analysed and presented. It was established in this research that a trained researchers were able to deliver understandable informed content process. Research participants respected a trained research assistant. At the same time the trained PI respected the participants and this was demonstrated by the way the respondents of the study said such PIs ensured that informed consent process was well understood. The trained PI ensured that the informed consent form was short and easy to read. The trained PI created good rapport with the participants to a level that they were able to own the project. The appreciation accorded to them made the participants own the research. Participants give more value to what they individually perceive more than getting to understand the concept of informed consent with respect to the research they are being asked to participate in. It is thus recommended that they should be educated on the value of understanding informed consent as opposed to the view of seeking to know the benefit they will get from the research if they take part in it.

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