Uganda National Council for Science and Technology(UNCST) on Tuesday (February 8, 2022) inaugurated a seven-member Accreditation Committee whose main function will be to review and approve applications for the establishment of Research and Ethics Committees(RECs) and Institutional Animal Care and Use Committees(IACUCs).
The committee is chaired by Prof.Charles Rwabukwali from Makerere University School of Social Sciences. Other members are Dr. Sylvia Baluka, Dr. Edgar Mugema Mulogo, Dr. Deo Ndumu, Dr. Margaret Driculu, Dr. Thereza Piloya Were and, Dr. George Upenytho
Presiding over the inauguration at the UNCST premises in Ntinda, Kampala, the UNCST acting Executive Secretary, Dr. Martin Patrick Ongol implored the members to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of RECs and IACUCS operations through monitoring ensuring that the committees provide the highest possible ethical standards and protection to research participants.
Dr. Ongol said the UNCST developed National Guidelines for research involving humans as research participants in July 2014 as well as the National Guidelines for use of animals in research and teaching in July 2021.These were to provide a national framework for harnessing the benefits of research while ensuring that the rights, interests, values and welfare of people and animals that take part in the research are not compromised.
It is a requirement in the guidelines for all RECs and Institutional Animal Care and Use Committees(IACUCs) operating in Uganda to be accredited by UNCST.These guidelines clearly outline the process of the committee’s accreditation in the country, according to Mrs. Hellen Opolot who heads the Research Management, Technology and Quality Assurance division at UNCST.
The accreditation committee chairman Prof. Rwabukwali committed to building public trust and confidence in the national ethical review system. His committee will specifically review RECs and IACUCs applications for accreditation in accordance with the standards established by the UNCST; and conduct periodic assessment of performance of RECs and IACUCs.
The members were appointed on a three-year renewable term limit with effect from January 4,2022.