Sub Saharan Africa with only 11% of the world's population has more than 24% of the global disease burden, over 70% of the world's HIV infected persons, and only 3% of the global work force, and spends less than 1% of the world financial resources on health. In the case of Uganda, a country of 35 million people who suffer with a heavy disease burden, there are only 7 Ugandan specialists trained at masters level in bioethics. These 7 are part of a group of 9 bioethicists who were all trained in North America and Europe of whom 2 have since left the country for greener pastures after their bioethics training. There is need to start training in Uganda in order to bridge the supply gap. Training within the region will reduce the cost of the program as a result of the increased numbers of individual trained and result in higher retention rates. The project is innovative and proposes a sustainable concurrent three level international ethics training program that includes certificate, diploma and master's degree awards that build a strong foundation for subsequent doctoral training (not part of this proposal) in about ten years'time. The overarching goal of this international research ethics program is to produce a sustainable supply of graduates who will show leadership and significantly contribute to improving standards and practice of research ethics to protect the safety and welfare of research participants in Uganda and the wider sub-Saharan Africa region. This will be done by developing: (1) Graduates capable of providing leadership in international research ethics and apply it effectively in teaching and mentoring individuals to participate in health research, manage research projects/ programs and also offer bioethics services consultations and policy advice. (2) Individuals who can undertake empirical and applied research on challenging ethical issues. And (3) Practitioners and researchers who can effectively provide consultation services and policy advise in international research ethics. This will be done using various ethics related courses whose delivery is guided by the use principles of adult learning and other features of the program aimed at ensuring the transfer of knowledge gained by the trainee to their home institutional environment. This is expected to contribute to strengthening improvements in research ethics capacity in Uganda and in the region to sustain high quality of international research ethics. Working with the relevant government departments like ministries of Public Service and of Health we will ensure that a career path for graduates of the program is well defined in Uganda and this may thus become a role model for other African countries. The 91 year old Makerere University with a student population of nearly 40,000 is by far the oldest and largest university in Uganda and is one of the most research intensive universities in Sub-Saharan Africa, ranked among the top 10 universities on the continent. The College of Health Sciences has four large schools of Medicine, Public Health, Biomedical Sciences and Health Sciences that include the Departments of Nursing, Pharmacy and Dentistry. The university has a large and rapidly expanding health research enterprise due to the many international research collaborations the college has. The East African regional block of countries (Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and Burundi) have contributed to ground breaking research that has impacted policy and practice changes internationally particularly on communicable diseases including neglected tropical diseases, but also increasingly on non-communicable diseases, health systems and other health challenges. The Makerere University's vision is to become a research driven university and serve as a recognized regional and reference center of first choice for advice on ethical challenges, research on international ethics regarding priority challenges and for development of bioethics research capacity.
The overarching goal is to produce a sustainable supply of graduates who will show leadership and significantly contribute to improving standards and practice of research ethics to protect the safety and welfare of research participants in Uganda and the wider sub-Saharan Africa region.