Should Feedback of Individual Results be Integrated into the Consent Process in African Genomics? Participants’ Views from an HIV-TB Genomics Research Project in Botswana

Should Feedback of Individual Results be Integrated into the Consent Process in African Genomics? Participants’ Views from an HIV-TB Genomics Research Project in Botswana
Dimpho Ralefala, Mary Kasule, Ambroise Wonkam, Mogomotsi Matshaba, Jantina de Vries
AJOB Empirical Bioethics, 1 July 2021
Open Access
Abstract
Background
Whilst informed consent is a key component of considering whether individual genomic research results could or should be fed back to research participants, little is known about the views of African research participants on its role.
Methods
We carried out a qualitative study to explore views of adolescents and parents or caregivers regarding informed consent for feedback of individual results from a genomics research project in Botswana. We conducted 24 deliberative focus group discussions with 93 participants (44 adolescents and 49 parents or caregivers) and 12 in-depth interviews (6 adolescents and 6 parents).
Results
Our findings revealed that most participants would like to be informed about the possibility of discovering individual genetic results during the consent process and that consent be obtained for feedback during the enrollment process. They further expressed that in cases where prior consent to feedback was not obtained, then participants should be re-contacted where life-saving genetic information is discovered. Participants emphasized the need for researchers to ensure that participants’ decisions regarding feedback of results are well-informed. Autonomy, transparency, and communication were identified as key values to uphold during the consent process.
Conclusion
In conclusion, obtaining participants’ consent for feedback of results is important to ensure that their rights and wellbeing are protected in research. This is critical in building trust relationships between participants and researchers.

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