Various forms of research are essential in emergency, disaster and disease outbreak situations, but challenges exist including the long length of time it takes to get research proposals approved. Consequently, it would be very advantageous to have an acceptable model for efficient coordination and communication between and among research ethics committees/IRBs and ministries of health, and templates for expediting ethical review of research proposals in emergency and epidemic situations to be used across the Caribbean and in other low and middle (...) income countries. This project involved a literature search and the interviewing of ministry of health officials, public health practitioners, and research ethics committee/IRB members in Jamaica and St. Lucia, to obtain suggestions for the best model for efficient coordination and communication between research ethics committees, and developed a template for expediting review of research protocols in epidemic and emergency conditions. (shrink)
Guideline 20 of the updated International Ethics Guidelines for Health‐related Research Involving Humans (2016) by the Council for International Organizations of Medical Sciences (CIOMS) provides guidance on research in disasters and disease outbreaks against the background of the need to generate knowledge quickly, overcome practical impediments to implementing such research, and the need to maintain public trust. The guideline recommends that research ethics committees could pre‐screen study protocols to expedite ethical reviews in a situation of crisis, that pre‐arrangements be made (...) regarding data sharing and biomedical sample sharing, and that sponsors and research ethics committees seek to minimize risk to researchers conducting research during a disaster. This paper critiques these recommendations against the background of the findings of a survey of public health officials and chairs of research ethics committees in the Caribbean during 2016, which sought to determine the best template for the expeditious ethical review of research proposals in emergency and epidemic situations in the Caribbean, and whose findings can serve as a model for other low‐ and middle‐income countries. (shrink)
In the Caribbean as in many other areas costly biomedical resources and personnel are limited, and more and more people are turning to alternative medicine and folk practitioners for health care. To meet the goal of providing health care for all, research on nonbiomedical therapies is needed, along with legal recognition of folk practitioners to establish standards of practice.
This paper examines pain and pain relief in the Caribbean, where pain is widely perceived as an unavoidable part of life, and where unnecessary suffering results from untreated and under treated pain. Barriers to pain relief in the Caribbean include patient and family attitudes, inadequate knowledge among health professionals and unduly restrictive regulations on the medical use of opioids. Similar barriers exist all over the world. This paper urges medical, nursing and public health professionals, and educators to examine attitudes towards (...) pain and pain relief and to work towards making effective pain relief and palliation more accessible. It recommends that i) health professionals and officials be better educated about pain, palliation and opioids, ii) regulatory restrictions be updated in light of clinical and scientific evidence, iii) opioid procurement policies be adjusted to facilitate increased medical use, iv) medical charts and records be modified to routinely elicit and document patients levels of pain, and v) educational campaigns be developed to inform the public that moderate and severe pain can be safely relieved at the end of life and other stages of life. The professional, respectful, and beneficent response to patients in pain is to provide rapid and aggressive pain relief or to urgently consult a pain or palliative specialist. When a health system hinders such efforts the ethical response is to identify, facilitate and advocate for overcoming barriers to improvement. (shrink)