Qatar National Health Research Ethics Committee
The purpose of the REC committee is to protect and promote the safety of human subjects involved in research through:
- The establishment of ethical rules, guidelines, and regulations to protect human subjects involved in research. It will not review individual research proposals.
- The provision of policy guidance to the Ministry of Health, Institutional Research Boards (IRB) and Health Ethics Committees.
- The promotion of the safety of human subjects involved in research.
- The provision of world’s class respect, knowledge, and credibility for the scientific, social and ethical responsibility in clinical research involving human subjects in Qatar.
- Establish rules, guidelines, and regulations to protect human subjects involved in research. It will not review individual research proposals.
- Advise the Ministry of Health and Research Institutions and Institutional Review Boards (IRBs) on ethical rules, guidelines, and regulations to protect human subjects involved in research.
- Promote respect for and observance of the guidelines for the protection of human subjects.
- Promote the means by which the safety of human subjects involved in research may be enforced.
- Approve unusual, non-routine and controversial Institutional Investigational Research Board's (IRB) recommendations for the use of human subjects in research.
- Suspend, revoke or place conditions on approval of controversial research proposals where the Ministry of Health is not satisfied that an Institution is taking action required by the IRB
- Report, from time to time, to the Ministry of Health on the need for, or desirability of, legislative, administrative, system or other changes needed to protect human safety and health.
The REC shall consist of the following members:
- A member from the Department of biomedical research at the Ministry of Health who will act as the REC Chair and be a permanent member of the committee
- An individual with expertise in the ethics of medical research
- An individual with expertise in religion
- An individual with expertise in medical research and clinical trials
- Not more than two individuals with expertise in genetic and genomic sciences
- Not more than two individuals with expertise in neonates and child health and development
- A health practitioner from the public sector
- One member with medico-legal qualifications and experience
- One lay member.
- Assist the REC committee in making effective and informed decisions that promote its purpose and functions
- Act in good faith, with honesty and integrity, and not pursue personal or business interests at the expense of the QNHREC's interests
- Maintain confidentiality regarding information that would not otherwise be available to them, which includes not disclosing information to any person or acting on information unless they are authorized to do so by the Chair of the QNHREC
- Disclose to the QNHREC Chair any conflicts of interest they have, or are likely to have, in the REC and disclose to the Chair any information they might obtain that could be considered material to the REC's business
- Attend and participate meaningfully in REC meetings. If a member is unable to attend a meeting, the member is expected to inform the Chair prior to meetings.
Appointment and removal
The Chair will be appointed by the Minister of Public Health and will serve as permanent member of the QNHREC
- Appointments for all other members are made by the QNHREC Chair in consultation with the Minister of Public Health. In making appointments, the QNHREC Chair must ensure that (i) adequate number of the members of the QNHREC are Qatari, and (ii) QNHREC membership includes, where possible, a range of health professions from the private and public sectors.
- Before a person is appointed to the QNHREC, the person must consent in writing to being a member and disclose to the Chair and the Minister of Public Health any conflicts of interest he or she has at that time, or is likely to have, in matters relating to the purpose and functions of the QNHREC.
- The QNHREC Chair may, at any time and entirely at his discretion, remove or replace any member of the REC. Removal must be made by a written notice to the member, and the notice must state the date on which removal takes effect.
- Members of the QNHREC may resign from the committee by a written notice to the Chair. Resignation will be effective on receipt of the notice of resignation or at any later time specified in the notice.
- All members of the REC, other than the Chair, hold office for a period of three years or any shorter period stated in the notice of appointment and may be reappointed.
Role of the Chair
- Chair QNHREC Committee meeting
- Work closely with members of the committee to manage the affairs of the QNHREC and effectively achieve its purpose and functions
- Act as the official spokesperson for the Ministry of Public Health for all communications, media relations, and stakeholder relations
QNHREC meeting procedures
The REC can regulate its own meeting procedures.
QNHREC reporting and information requirements
The QNHREC is required to provide a bi-yearly report to the Minister of Public Health. The format and timing of the report will be established in writing by the QNHREC Chair and is expected to include:
- Summary of the discussion of issues regarding the ethical conduct of research involving human subjects.
- The decisions and recommendations taken by the QNHREC.
- Any issues, risks, or trends noted by the QNHREC in its work and recommendations on potential responses
The QNHREC is also required to provide any information requested in writing by the Chair.
The Board will not hold the QNHREC or its members liable for any excluded act or omission – i.e., an act or omission by the QNHREC and/or its members in good faith in the performance or intended performance of the QNHREC's purpose and functions.
The Department of Biomedical Research is responsible to the Minister of Public Health for supporting the QNHREC by:
- Implementing policies and processes for the ethical use of humans in research.
- Ensuring that all stakeholders have convenient access to clear information on all rules, regulations and policies governing the involvement of humans in medical research; and that staff respond to inquiries accurately and in a timely and courteous manner
- Ensuring all information and records are accurate, complete, and handled in a confidential manner
- Providing secretarial support needed by the Chair to ensure the QNHREC is properly organized and that the QNHREC effectively achieves its purpose and performs its functions.