CBEC-KEMRI Bioethics Training Initiative

In 2016, the Centre of Biomedical Ethics and Culture (CBEC) in collaboration with the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) were funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH)’s Fogarty International Centre to build capacity in bioethics through implementation of a bioethics training initiative funded by the This funding facilitated the development of the CBEC-KEMRI Bioethics Training Initiative (CKBTI).

This collaboration builds on the long-standing relationship between the two institutes, with several individuals from Kenya being trained previously by CBEC through its academic programs including Masters, Postgraduate Diploma and Certificate courses.

The aims of the current collaboration include training of core faculty and development of bioethics curriculum for Kenya allowing the building of a sustainable bioethics program for Kenya and East Africa, based at KEMRI. In addition, CBEC during the collaboration will offer training for Kenyan applicants in the PGD and MBE programs based at Karachi during its regular admission cycles. For rapid capacity building, certificate courses will be held at KEMRI for Kenyan students in the areas of Research ethics, Research Methodology Public Health and Clinical Ethics. In addition to this, a practicum will be offered for both Kenyan and Pakistani applicants, to enable individuals involved in Institutional Review Commitees (IRECS) to enhance their learning of the functioning of IREC secretariat through hands on experience.


Name Institution /Position Brief
Dr. Amar Jesani Centre for Studies in Ethics and Rights. An independent consultant, researcher and teacher of bioethics and public health. He is one of the founding trustees of the Anusandhan Trust, which manages the health research institute CEHAT (Centre for Studies in Ethics and Rights).
Prof. Farhat Moazam CBEC – Head of CBEC The founding Chairperson of Centre of Biomedical Ethics and Culture (CBEC), Sindh Institute of Urology and Transplantation (SUIT), Karachi, Pakistan. Currently she is also a Fellow of the Institute of Practical Ethics and Visiting Professor at the Center for Humanism in Medicine, at the University of Virginia, USA
Dr. Simon Langat NACOSTI –Chief Science Secretary The head of health sciences department at the National commission for Science, Technology and Innovation (NACOSTI), Kenya. NACOSTI hosts the National bioethics council (NBC) which develops guidelines and accredits Institutional Ethics Review Committees. NBC also provides policy and top-level advice on bioethical issues in Kenya.
Prof. Walter Jaoko University of Nairobi, ERC member A professor of Tropical medicine and a former Chairperson of the Department of Medical Microbiology at the University of Nairobi. He has a PGD from ARESA and serves on the University of Nairobi/ Kenyatta National hospital Ethics committee. He has served on the Kenya Pharmacy and Poisons Board Expert Clinical Trials Committee since its inception and is the current Chair of the committee
Prof. Asad Raja Professor and Chairman, Department of surgery, Aga Khan University Hospital, Nairobi. The Quaid-e-Azam Professor & Chairman, Department of Surgery, Aga Khan University (AKU) East Africa, Nairobi, Kenya. He has long standing interest, educational background, experience and expertise in the field of bioethics. Dr. Raja has previously been PI for a Fogarty International (NIH) (2002 )Research Ethics Training grant
Prof. Mike Parker Director of Ethox Centre at Oxford A professor of Bioethics and Director of the Ethox Centre at the University of Oxford. His main research interest is in the ethics of collaborative global health research
Prof. Aasim Ahmad Dean and Chief Nephrologist at the Kidney Centre in Karachi Has masters in Bioethics from the Joint Centre of Bioethics, University of Toronto, Canada. He directed the Bioethics training program at Aga Khan University Karachi funded by the NIH.
Prof. Keymanthri Moodley Medical Doctor, Researcher. A professor in the Department of Medicine and Director of the Centre for Medical Ethics & Law (CMEL), Faculty of Medicine & Health Sciences – Tygerberg, University of Stellenbosch, South Africa. She serves on the National Health Research Ethics Council (NHREC) and the Ethics Advisory Board of the Netcare group of private hospitals
Prof. Eric Meslin Former Co PI for the Indiana/Moi University bioethics training Currently heading the Council of Canadian Academies (CCCA), he was the founding Director of the Indiana University Center for Bioethics which celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2011. He is also Associate Dean for Bioethics in the Indiana University School of Medicine, and is Professor of Medicine; of Medical & Molecular Genetics; of Bioethics and Law; and of Philosophy.
Dr Julius Ecuru Uganda National Council for Science and Technology Dr Ecuru is an Alumni of IRENSA. He is currently the Assistant Executive Secretary at the Uganda National Council for Science and Technology. Mr. Ecuru’s research focuses on bioscience innovation systems, direct payments during HIV research, and the morality of research in developing countries. He has previously worked for BIO-EARN, a program aimed to build capacity in biotechnology in Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda and promote appropriate research and related policies. Mr. Ecuru has also been instrumental in building a coherent research management system in Uganda including national frameworks for human and animal experimentation, biosafety and access to genetic resources, and benefit sharing


1. Curriculum Development Workshop:
With the objective to train members in developing curriculum within bioethics suitable to contextual needs, a Curriculum Development Workshop Program was held at Lake Naivasha, on February 10-13, 2020. The total number of participants was 18, thirteen participants from Kenya and five participants from Pakistan including Prof. Aamir Jafarey, Ms. Sualeha Siddiq Shekhani, Dr. Bushra Shirazi, Dr. Shahid Shamim and Prof. Farhat Moazam. The workshop covered pertinent areas in curriculum designing including alignment of learning objectives with teaching methods and assessment strategies.

2. Certificate Courses (CC):

  • Clinical Ethics
    Thirty-four participants participated in the nine-day CC on Clinical Ethics on February 14-22. Teaching faculty from Pakistan included Drs. Farhat Moazam, Bushra Shirazi, Aamir Jafarey, Nida Wahid Bashir and Ms. Sualeha Shekhani. The objective of the Clinical Ethics workshop is to teach course participants about the basic concepts pertinent within the field of medicine, covering issues such as beginning of life, end of life along with training participants about the functioning of Hospital Ethics Committees. The participants from Kenya included people belonging from different fields, including medical doctors, clinical officers, nurses and others from healthcare facilities.
  • Research Methods Certificate Course:
    Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the latter part of the year 2020 saw a shift to the online teaching mode. An online workshop conducted over Zoom was held from May 11 to 15, 2020, attended by thirty-one participants, the course trained individuals in the conduct of research, basic research methodologies in both qualitative and quantitative domains, and review of research proposals.
  • Research and Public Health Ethics Certificate Course:
    As the Covid-19 pandemic continued around the world, all teaching shifted online. The annual Research and Public Health Ethics Certificate course was conducted via Zoom from October 12 to 16, 2020. Attended by thirty-nine participants from different fields including those involved in public health and research, the course covered core areas and concepts in research ethics. Course faculty from Pakistan included Drs. Aamir Jafarey, Aasim Ahmad and Ms. Sualeha Shekhani. Indian counterparts included Drs. Amar Jesani and Vijayprasad Gopichandran.

3. Advisory Board Meetings:
Two advisory board meetings, with the purpose of providing updates regarding CK-BTI activities and also to discuss future plans were held in 2020. One on February 15, which included nine participants and the second one, was conducted online on September 1 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, involving eleven participants. Drs. Farhat Moazam and Aamir Jafarey attended both meetings from Pakistan.

4. MCQ Development Workshops:
Five online (Zoom) faculty MCQ development workshops took place in the year 2020 which were attended by 33 participants from Kenya and Pakistan. The three faculty members from Pakistan were Dr. Bushra Shirazi, Ms. Sualeha Shekhani, and Prof. Aamir Jafarey. The objective of these workshops was for the faculty members to be trained on how to develop MCQs and objectives of the RM training by a member of the CK-BTI Curriculum Development Committee.

5. Curriculum Development Committee:
Three online (Zoom) Curriculum Development committee meetings were held in the year 2020. Two at the Mount Kenya University on July 8, Sept 17- 25, and was attended by sixteen participants. The second was held at Amref International University, Kenya on August 25, and was attended by eight participants. The purpose of these meetings was for CK-BTI curriculum development committee to introduce and explain to the Mount Kenya and Amref University Team the proposed PGD/MBE Curriculum.

6. Fundamentals of Bioethics Certificate Course:
An online (Zoom) Fundamentals of Bioethics CC Workshop was held on July 20-24, and was attended by thirty-six participants. This course involved training individuals in the conduct of research, clinicians, and anyone with a keen interest in bioethics.

7. Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) Course:
An online (Zoom) Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) Course was held on August 18, and was attended by five participants. This mandatory course was taken by the CBEC PGD and MBE Kenyan scholars just before undergoing their course modules.

8. MCQ Development Meeting:
An online (Zoom) MCQ development meeting was held on Sept. 14-15, and was attended by eight participants, which included one Pakistani faculty as well Dr. Amar Jesani.
The objective of the meeting was for the Research and Public Health Ethics faculty to review the MCQs that had been developed to select the ones that would be administered as Pre and Posttests.

9. Research and Public Health Ethics Practicum:
An online (Zoom) Research and Public Health Ethics Practicum was held on Oct. 19-21, and was attended by ten participants. The purpose of the three-day practicum training facilitated by the KEMRI- Scientific, and Ethics Review Unit (SERU) gives hands-on experience and training on the functioning of an Institutional Ethics Review Committees (IERC).


Clinical Ethics Certificate Course , April 25 to May 3, 2019:

Thirty-five participants from Kenya participated in the two-week certificate course on clinical ethics. The certificate course covered a variety of topics including the concept of informed consent as applicable in different medical situations, privacy and confidentiality, pharma-physician interaction and the related concept of conflict of interest, medical error and negligence and so forth.

The program of the certificate course was again structured in such a way that international faculty was paired with local faculty, in order to enhance local capacity. Several of CBEC’s alumni from Kenya also conducted sessions on their own in this round.

  • Participants and Faculty during evaluation of the course.

  • CKBTI Faculty with course participants.


Research and Public Health Ethics Certificate Course and Practicum, October-November, 2019

Twenty-eight participants from Kenya, and four participants from Pakistan (32 in total) attended the week long certificate course that focused on Research and Public Health Ethics.

The program of the CC was structured in a way that international faculty enhanced the local capacity, with many of CBEC alumni in Kenya also leading some of the integral sessions.

The course was followed by a four-day long practicum that enabled the participants to view the working of an Ethical Review Committee that handles a large number of proposals.

Pre and post test surveys were conducted before and after the workshop in order to measure the effectiveness of the course, with feedback provided to the course participants on areas of improvement.

  • Participants during the Practicum learning the functioning of the Secretariat

  • Course participants engaged in a hands-on activity with Dr. Mala Ramanathan


Research Ethics and Public Health Ethics Certificate Course and Practicum, July 2018:

Twenty participants consisting of five Pakistani participants and 15 African participants (from Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda) for a week long Certificate Course (CC) in Research Ethics and Public Health Ethics. This was followed by a second week consisting of a Practicum consisting of 10 participants (5 Pakistani participants and 5 Kenyan participants).

The program of the CC was structured to facilitate pairing of guest faculty with local faculty, with the objective of enhancing local capacity.

The practicum in the second week was designed to provide hands on experience for the participants in managing and running a secretariat for a Research Ethics Committee (REC/IRB/ERC).

  • Dr. Amar Jesani and his co-instructor Ms. Caroline Kithinji taking a session.

  • A CBEC production “Testing Times” being used to discuss issues related to privacy and confidentiality.

  • Dr. Asad Raja taking a session on standards of care

  • The practicum group at the SERU secretariat for a field visit

  • Prof. Walter Jaoko taking a session on Contract Research Organizations

  • The Pakistani participants gather on the balcony with some of the faculty to capture the moment in this memorable picture

  • Dr. Mala Ramanathan doing the famous “gender walk”
    with the students, driving home the subtleties of
    the impact of gender in access to healthcare


Clinical Ethics Certificate Course, September 2018:

Thiry-one participants from different parts of Africa attended the five-day long certificate course in Clinical Ethics.

The program of the CC consisted of integral topics in Clinical Ethics such as medical error and negligence, privacy and confidentiality and necessity of informed consent. Local faculty was paired with international faculty from different parts of the world in order to build capacity.

  • Dr. Bushra Shirazi leading a discussion during the Curriculum Adaptation workshop

  • Participants engaged in a role play portraying a Hospital Ethics Consultation


Research Ethics course and Practicum:

Held over the course of one week, this certificate course trained 27 participants (23 Kenyan and 5 Pakistani scholars) in research ethics. The Pakistani students along with 5 Kenyan students were additionally provided Practicum training at the KEMRI Scientific and Ethics Review unit (SERU), to understand the workings of a REC secretariat.

  • Dr. Amar Jesani engaging with course participants

  • Dr. Asad Jamil Raja during his talk on research ethics

  • Learning the works of a REC secretariat

Clinical Ethics/Public Health course:

This certificate course trained 25 Kenyan scholars in the domain of clinical and public health ethics, giving them a flavor of various ethical dilemmas encountered, utilizing a variety of teaching tools including local CBEC visual productions.

  • Dr. Moazam engaging the students during an interactive discussion

  • Dr. Stephen Ombok Muhudhia during his talk

During the certificate courses, scholars from Pakistan, Kenya and Tanzania had an opportunity to attend the 2nd Bioethics Society of Kenya (BSK) conference. The Pakistani scholars who are alumni from CBEC-SIUT, presented their papers at the conference, and had an opportunity to interacted with international academics and researchers at the conference.

  • Dr. Abeer Salim presenting a paper at the conference

  • Dr. Nazli Hossain presenting a paper at the conference

Curriculum Adaptation:

A daylong meeting of the Curriculum Adaptation Committee was held at KEMRI to discuss the mechanisms of adapting the CBEC curriculum to suit the Kenyan requirements. Subcommittees were selected and mandated to develop a framework for the various courses to be offered through CK-BTI over the years.

Advisory Board:

The first advisory board meeting was held in 2017. During this meeting, Professor Walta Jaoko was elected the chair of the board for tenure of 2.5 years.