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Keywords:

  • Africa;
  • genetics;
  • research;
  • ethics;
  • benefit sharing

ABSTRACT

Background:  Both the Council for International Organization of Medical Sciences and the Helsinki Declaration emphasize that the potential benefits of research should outweigh potential harms; consequently, some work has been conducted on participants' perception of benefits in therapeutic research. However, there appears to be very little work conducted with participants who have joined non-therapeutic research. This work was done to evaluate participants' perception of benefits in a genetic epidemiological study by examining their perception of the potential benefits of enrollment.

Methods:  In-depth interviews lasting between 45 and 60 minutes were conducted with a convenient sample of 25 ill patients and 25 healthy accompanying relatives enrolled in a genetic epidemiological study of tuberculosis. Recorded interviews were transcribed and analyzed using content analysis.

Results:  Participants perceived that research was beneficial and some of the benefits included the generation of new knowledge, finding the cause of diseases, as well as the control, eradication and prevention of disease. Some thought that research was risky whilst others thought that the benefits outweighed the risks.

Conclusion:  Participants perceived research to be beneficial and most of them thought that, though it was risky, the benefits outweighed the risks. It is our view that researchers need to give serious consideration to participant's perception of benefits in designing their consent forms, to see to the fulfillment of achievable goals.