Ethics in Dental Research Focus of UKZN Webinar
The College of Health Sciences partnered with the South African division of the International Association for Dental Research (IADR-SA) to host a webinar on ethics in dental research.
Presented by UKZN’s Professor Shenuka Singh the online event, which attracted more than 280 researchers, students and research supervisors aimed to create awareness of research ethics specifically in dental (oral and craniofacial) research and the need for researchers to ensure compliance with ethico-legal requirements.
Singh outlined how researchers could build a toolkit to act as a resource to support and encourage ethical practice in research.
The presentation included defining the nature and scope of research ethics and their application to clinical, laboratory and community-based dental research. The oversight role of research ethics committees was also outlined.
Singh reminded the audience that from a legal perspective researchers needed to be aware of legislation such as the National Health Act (Act 61 of 2003) and Protection of Personal Information Act (2013) (POPIA). ‘Researchers need to be aware of the requirements necessary for the lawful processing of personal information which include obtaining informed consent for initial processing, exercising minimality in collecting personal information and ensuring adequate safety guards for the storage and access of collection of personal information for research purposes.’
She guided the audience on developing a toolkit containing information on research ethics, legislative documents, national and international guidelines, a researcher code of conduct, and learning opportunities for ongoing engagement with research ethics.
IADR-SA has a mandate to promote and provide support for dental research through the global networking forum.
This was the first webinar offered by IADR-SA, according to its President, Dr Saadika Khan of the Faculty of Dentistry at the University of the Western Cape, who said the events were intended to raise awareness about the support IADR-SA could provide to dental researchers in South Africa.
The webinar was facilitated by Dr Rajeshree Moodley of the Discipline of Dentistry at UKZN, and Dr Ruan Scheepers of the Faculty of Dentistry at Wits.
Words: Nombuso Dlamini