The process of obtaining informed consent continues to be a contentious issue in clinical and public health research carried out in resource-limited settings. We sought to evaluate this process among human research participants in randomly selected active research studies approved by the School of Medicine Research and Ethics Committee at the College of Health Sciences, Makerere University.
One fundamental ethical principle underpinning research ethics is that of respect for persons. It requires that researchers respect research participants’ autonomy, interests, and wishes, and act on the presumption that participants are the best judges of what their interests are (Nuffield Council on Bioethics 2002). This presumption obliges us to design consent processes for research that facilitate prospective participants’ free and informed decisions as to whether or not to participate in a study.