Professor Vicki Marsh

Research Area: Behavioural Science
Scientific Themes: Tropical Medicine & Global Health
Keywords: Quantitative data
Web Links:

With a background in Medicine and General Practice in the UK, Vicki has been working at the KEMRI Wellcome Trust Programme in Kilifi since 1990 and on Health Systems Research and Research Ethics since 1995. Prior to this, between 1982 and 1985, she worked at the UK MRC laboratories in The Gambia. She holds an appointment as a University Research Lecturer in the Nuffield Department of Medicine, and is a Research Associate of the Ethox Centre (Centre for Ethics) in the Public Health Department, at Oxford University. Broadly, Vicki's current research and operational interests concern understanding, and strengthening policy around, social and ethical aspects of international collaborative health research conducted in low-income settings. Specific areas of focus include community engagement, informed consent, benefit sharing, provider-patient communication, ancillary care responsibilities and data sharing. Her work is particularly influenced by an interest in drawing on empirical approaches to normative analysis; her doctoral thesis was based on addressing social and ethical issues in sharing research-generated genetic findings using community consultation methods. Vicki is an active member of programme committees that review new research proposals, and supports strategic planning around ethical issues that emerge during research across the programme. She contributes to social science and research ethics training at the centre for early-to-mid career scientists, front-line staff and community representatives. In the past, Vicki worked extensively on malaria home management in Kenya, including piloting, developing and evaluating a role for private medicine retailers within the Kenya National Malaria Control Strategy.

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Pisani E, Aaby P, Breugelmans JG, Carr D, Groves T, Helinski M, Kamuya D, Kern S, Littler K, Marsh V et al. 2016. Beyond open data: realising the health benefits of sharing data. BMJ, 355 pp. i5295. | Read more

Molyneux S, Sariola S, Allman D, Dijkstra M, Gichuru E, Graham S, Kamuya D, Gakii G, Kayemba B, Kombo B et al. 2016. Public/community engagement in health research with men who have sex with men in sub-Saharan Africa: challenges and opportunities. Health Res Policy Syst, 14 (1), pp. 40. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Community engagement, incorporating elements of the broader concepts of public and stakeholder engagement, is increasingly promoted globally, including for health research conducted in developing countries. In sub-Saharan Africa, community engagement needs and challenges are arguably intensified for studies involving gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men, where male same-sex sexual interactions are often highly stigmatised and even illegal. This paper contextualises, describes and interprets the discussions and outcomes of an international meeting held at the Kenya Medical Research Institute-Wellcome Trust in Kilifi, Kenya, in November 2013, to critically examine the experiences with community engagement for studies involving men who have sex with men. DISCUSSION: We discuss the ethically charged nature of the language used for men who have sex with men, and of working with 'representatives' of these communities, as well as the complementarity and tensions between a broadly public health approach to community engagement, and a more rights based approach. We highlight the importance of researchers carefully considering which communities to engage with, and the goals, activities, and indicators of success and potential challenges for each. We suggest that, given the unintended harms that can emerge from community engagement (including through labelling, breaches in confidentiality, increased visibility and stigma, and threats to safety), representatives of same-sex populations should be consulted from the earliest possible stage, and that engagement activities should be continuously revised in response to unfolding realities. Engagement should also include less vocal and visible men who have sex with men, and members of other communities with influence on the research, and on research participants and their families and friends. Broader ethics support, advice and research into studies involving men who have sex with men is needed to ensure that ethical challenges - including but not limited to those related to community engagement - are identified and addressed. Underlying challenges and dilemmas linked to stigma and discrimination of men who have sex with men in Africa raise special responsibilities for researchers. Community engagement is an important way of identifying responses to these challenges and responsibilities but itself presents important ethical challenges.

Jao I, Kombe F, Mwalukore S, Bull S, Parker M, Kamuya D, Molyneux S, Marsh V. 2015. Involving Research Stakeholders in Developing Policy on Sharing Public Health Research Data in Kenya: Views on Fair Process for Informed Consent, Access Oversight, and Community Engagement. J Empir Res Hum Res Ethics, 10 (3), pp. 264-277. | Show Abstract | Read more

Increased global sharing of public health research data has potential to advance scientific progress but may present challenges to the interests of research stakeholders, particularly in low-to-middle income countries. Policies for data sharing should be responsive to public views, but there is little evidence of the systematic study of these from low-income countries. This qualitative study explored views on fair data-sharing processes among 60 stakeholders in Kenya with varying research experience, using a deliberative approach. Stakeholders' attitudes were informed by perceptions of benefit and concerns for research data sharing, including risks of stigmatization, loss of privacy, and undermining scientific careers and validity, reported in detail elsewhere. In this article, we discuss institutional trust-building processes seen as central to perceptions of fairness in sharing research data in this setting, including forms of community involvement, individual prior awareness and agreement to data sharing, independence and accountability of governance mechanisms, and operating under a national framework.

Bull S, Cheah PY, Denny S, Jao I, Marsh V, Merson L, Shah More N, Nhan LNT, Osrin D, Tangseefa D et al. 2015. Best Practices for Ethical Sharing of Individual-Level Health Research Data From Low- and Middle-Income Settings. J Empir Res Hum Res Ethics, 10 (3), pp. 302-313. | Show Abstract | Read more

Sharing individual-level data from clinical and public health research is increasingly being seen as a core requirement for effective and efficient biomedical research. This article discusses the results of a systematic review and multisite qualitative study of key stakeholders' perspectives on best practices in ethical data sharing in low- and middle-income settings. Our research suggests that for data sharing to be effective and sustainable, multiple social and ethical requirements need to be met. An effective model of data sharing will be one in which considered judgments will need to be made about how best to achieve scientific progress, minimize risks of harm, promote fairness and reciprocity, and build and sustain trust.

Jao I, Kombe F, Mwalukore S, Bull S, Parker M, Kamuya D, Molyneux S, Marsh V. 2015. Research Stakeholders' Views on Benefits and Challenges for Public Health Research Data Sharing in Kenya: The Importance of Trust and Social Relations. PLoS One, 10 (9), pp. e0135545. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: There is increasing recognition of the importance of sharing research data within the international scientific community, but also of the ethical and social challenges this presents, particularly in the context of structural inequities and varied capacity in international research. Public involvement is essential to building locally responsive research policies, including on data sharing, but little research has involved stakeholders from low-to-middle income countries. METHODS: Between January and June 2014, a qualitative study was conducted in Kenya involving sixty stakeholders with varying experiences of research in a deliberative process to explore views on benefits and challenges in research data sharing. In-depth interviews and extended small group discussions based on information sharing and facilitated debate were used to collect data. Data were analysed using Framework Analysis, and charting flow and dynamics in debates. FINDINGS: The findings highlight both the opportunities and challenges of communicating about this complex and relatively novel topic for many stakeholders. For more and less research-experienced stakeholders, ethical research data sharing is likely to rest on the development and implementation of appropriate trust-building processes, linked to local perceptions of benefits and challenges. The central nature of trust is underpinned by uncertainties around who might request what data, for what purpose and when. Key benefits perceived in this consultation were concerned with the promotion of public health through science, with legitimate beneficiaries defined differently by different groups. Important challenges were risks to the interests of study participants, communities and originating researchers through stigmatisation, loss of privacy, impacting autonomy and unfair competition, including through forms of intentional and unintentional 'misuse' of data. Risks were also seen for science. DISCUSSION: Given background structural inequities in much international research, building trust in this low-to-middle income setting includes ensuring that the interests of study participants, primary communities and originating researchers will be promoted as far as possible, as well as protected. Important ways of building trust in data sharing include involving the public in policy development and implementation, promoting scientific collaborations around data sharing and building close partnerships between researchers and government health authorities to provide checks and balances on data sharing, and promote near and long-term translational benefits.

Njue M, Molyneux S, Kombe F, Mwalukore S, Kamuya D, Marsh V. 2015. Benefits in cash or in kind? A community consultation on types of benefits in health research on the Kenyan Coast. PLoS One, 10 (5), pp. e0127842. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Providing benefits and payments to participants in health research, either in cash or in kind, is a common but ethically controversial practice. While much literature has concentrated on appropriate levels of benefits or payments, this paper focuses on less well explored ethical issues around the nature of study benefits, drawing on views of community members living close to an international health research centre in Kenya. METHODS: The consultation, including 90 residents purposively chosen to reflect diversity, used a two-stage deliberative process. Five half-day workshops were each followed by between two and four small group discussions, within a two week period (total 16 groups). During workshops and small groups, facilitators used participatory methods to share information, and promote reflection and debate on ethical issues around types of benefits, including cash, goods, medical and community benefits. Data from workshop and field notes, and voice recordings of small group discussions, were managed using Nvivo 10 and analysed using a Framework Analysis approach. FINDINGS AND CONCLUSIONS: The methods generated in-depth discussion with high levels of engagement. Particularly for the most-poor, under-compensation of time in research carries risks of serious harm. Cash payments may best support compensation of costs experienced; while highly valued, goods and medical benefits may be more appropriate as an 'appreciation' or incentive for participation. Community benefits were seen as important in supporting but not replacing individual-level benefits, and in building trust in researcher-community relations. Cash payments were seen to have higher risks of undue inducement, commercialising relationships and generating family conflicts than other benefits, particularly where payments are high. Researchers should consider and account for burdens families may experience when children are involved in research. Careful context-specific research planning and skilled and consistent communication about study benefits and payments are important, including in mitigating potential negative effects.

Kamuya DM, Theobald SJ, Marsh V, Parker M, Geissler WP, Molyneux SC. 2015. "The one who chases you away does not tell you go": silent refusals and complex power relations in research consent processes in Coastal Kenya. PLoS One, 10 (5), pp. e0126671. | Show Abstract | Read more

Consent processes have attracted significant research attention over the last decade, including in the global south. Although relevant studies suggest consent is a complex negotiated process involving multiple actors, most guidelines assume consent is a one-off encounter with a clear 'yes' or 'no' decision. In this paper we explore the concept of 'silent refusals', a situation where it is not clear whether potential participants want to join studies or those in studies want to withdraw from research, as they were not actively saying no. We draw on participant observation, in-depth interviews and group discussions conducted with a range of stakeholders in two large community based studies conducted by the KEMRI Wellcome Trust programme in coastal Kenya. We identified three broad inter-related rationales for silent refusals: 1) a strategy to avoid conflicts and safeguard relations within households, - for young women in particular-to appear to conform to the wishes of elders; 2) an approach to maintain friendly, appreciative and reciprocal relationships with fieldworkers, and the broader research programme; and 3) an effort to retain study benefits, either for individuals, whole households or wider communities. That refusals and underlying rationales were silent posed multiple dilemmas for fieldworkers, who are increasingly recognised to play a key interface role between researchers and communities in many settings. Silent refusals reflect and reinforce complex power relations embedded in decisions about research participation, with important implications for consent processes and broader research ethics practice. Fieldworkers need support to reflect upon and respond to the ethically charged environment they work in.

Kamuya DM, Marsh V, Njuguna P, Munywoki P, Parker M, Molyneux S. 2014. "When they see us, it's like they have seen the benefits!": experiences of study benefits negotiations in community-based studies on the Kenyan Coast. BMC Med Ethics, 15 (1), pp. 90. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Benefit sharing in health research has been the focus of international debates for many years, particularly in developing countries. Whilst increasing attention is being given to frameworks that can guide researchers to determine levels of benefits to participants, there is little empirical research from developing countries on the practical application of these frameworks, including in situations of extreme poverty and vulnerability. In addition, the voices of those who often negotiate and face issues related to benefits in practice - frontline researchers and fieldworkers (FWs) - are rarely included in these debates. Against this background, this paper reports on experiences of negotiating research participation and benefits as described by fieldworkers, research participants and researchers in two community based studies. METHODS: The findings reported here are from a broader social science study that explored the nature of interactions between fieldworkers and participants in two community based studies on the Kenyan Coast. Between January and July 2010, data were collected using participant observation, and through group discussions and in-depth interviews with 42 fieldworkers, 4 researchers, and 40 study participants. RESULTS: Participants highly appreciated the benefits provided by studies, particularly health care benefits. Fieldworkers were seen by participants and other community members as the gatekeepers and conduits of benefits, even though those were not their formal roles. Fieldworkers found it challenging to ignore participant and community requests for more benefits, especially in situations of extreme poverty. However, responding to requests by providing different sorts and levels of benefits over time, as inadvertently happened in one study, raised expectations of further benefits and led to continuous negotiations between fieldworkers and participants. CONCLUSIONS: Fieldworkers play an important intermediary role in research; a role imbued with multiple challenges and ethical dilemmas for which they require appropriate support. Further more specific empirical research is needed to inform the development of guidance for researchers on benefit sharing, and on responding to emergency humanitarian needs for this and other similar settings.

Angwenyi V, Kamuya D, Mwachiro D, Kalama B, Marsh V, Njuguna P, Molyneux S. 2014. Complex realities: community engagement for a paediatric randomized controlled malaria vaccine trial in Kilifi, Kenya. Trials, 15 (1), pp. 65. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Community engagement (CE) is increasingly promoted for biomedical research conducted in resource poor settings for both intrinsic and instrumental purposes. Given the potential importance of CE, but also complexities and possibility of unexpected negative outcomes, there is need for more documentation of CE processes in practice. We share experiences of formal CE for a paediatric randomized controlled malaria vaccine trial conducted in three sites within Kilifi County, Kenya. METHODS: Social scientists independent of the trial held in-depth individual interviews with trial researchers (n=5), community leaders (n=8) and parents (15 with enrolled children and 4 without); and group discussions with fieldworkers (n=6) and facility staff (n=2). We conducted a survey of participating households (n=200) and observed over 150 CE activities. RESULTS: The overall CE plan was similar across the three study sites, although less community-based information in site C. Majority perceived CE activities to clear pre-existing concerns and misconceptions; increase visibility, awareness of and trust in trial staff. Challenges included: some community leaders attempting to exert pressure on people to enrol; local wording in information sheets and consent forms feeding into serious anxieties about the trial; and concerns about reduced CE over time. Negative effects of these challenges were mitigated through changes to on-going CE activities, and final information sharing and consent being conducted individually by trained clinical staff. One year after enrolment, 31% (n = 62) of participants' parents reported malaria prevention as the main aim of the activities their children were involved in, and 93% wanted their children to remain involved. CONCLUSION: The trial teams' goals for CE were relatively clear from the outset. Other actors' hopes and expectations (like higher allowances and future employment) were not openly discussed, but emerged over the course of engagements. Encouraging open discussion of all actors' intentions and goals from the outset takes time, risks raising expectations that cannot be met, and is complex. However, doing so in future similar trials may allow successes here to be built upon, and some challenges minimized or avoided. TRIAL REGISTRATION: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00866619 (registration 19-Mar-2009).

Njue M, Kombe F, Mwalukore S, Molyneux S, Marsh V. 2014. What are fair study benefits in international health research? Consulting community members in Kenya. PLoS One, 9 (12), pp. e113112. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Planning study benefits and payments for participants in international health research in low- income settings can be a difficult and controversial process, with particular challenges in balancing risks of undue inducement and exploitation and understanding how researchers should take account of background inequities. At an international health research programme in Kenya, this study aimed to map local residents' informed and reasoned views on the effects of different levels of study benefits and payments to inform local policy and wider debates in international research. METHODS AND FINDINGS: Using a relatively novel two-stage process community consultation approach, five participatory workshops involving 90 local residents from diverse constituencies were followed by 15 small group discussions, with components of information-sharing, deliberation and reflection to situate normative reasoning within debates. Framework Analysis drew inductively and deductively on voice-recorded discussions and field notes supported by Nvivo 10 software, and the international research ethics literature. Community members' views on study benefits and payments were diverse, with complex contextual influences and interplay between risks of giving 'too many' and 'too few' benefits, including the role of cash. While recognising important risks for free choice, research relationships and community values in giving 'too many', the greatest concerns were risks of unfairness in giving 'too few' benefits, given difficulties in assessing indirect costs of participation and the serious consequences for families of underestimation, related to perceptions of researchers' responsibilities. CONCLUSIONS: Providing benefits and payments to participants in international research in low-income settings is an essential means by which researchers meet individual-level and structural forms of ethical responsibilities, but understanding how this can be achieved requires a careful account of social realities and local judgment. Concerns about undue inducement in low-income communities may often be misplaced; we argue that greater attention should be placed on avoiding unfairness, particularly for the most-poor.

Folayan MO, Peterson K, Haire B, Brown B, Audu K, Makanjuola O, Pelemo B, Marsh V. 2015. Debating Ethics in HIV Research: Gaps between Policy and Practice in Nigeria. Dev World Bioeth, 15 (3), pp. 214-225. | Show Abstract | Read more

HIV prevention is a critical health issue in Nigeria; a country that has one of the worst HIV epidemic profiles in the world. With 270,000 new infections in 2012, Nigeria is a prime site for HIV prevention research. One effect of the HIV epidemic has been to revolutionalise ethical norms for the conduct of research: it is now considered unethical to design and implement HIV related studies without community engagement. Unfortunately, there is very little commensurate effort in building the capacity of local persons to engage actively with researchers, and there is no existing platform to facilitate dialogue between researchers and communities engaged in research in Nigeria. In an effort to address this gap, we undertook a series of three community dialogues (Phase One) and two community-researcher interface meetings (Phase Two) in Nigeria. This paper aims to give an empirical account of the dialogue from these community engagement processes and provide a resulting critique of the implementation of research ethics practices in Nigeria. It is anticipated that the outputs will: (i) support researchers in designing community-based research protocols; (ii) inform ethics committees of key considerations during research protocol reviews from a community perspective; and (iii) inform policy makers and research sponsors about issues of primary concern to communities with respect to HIV research.

Marsh V, Kombe F, Fitzpatrick R, Molyneux S, Parker M. 2013. Managing misaligned paternity findings in research including sickle cell disease screening in Kenya: 'consulting communities' to inform policy. Soc Sci Med, 96 pp. 192-199. | Show Abstract | Read more

The management of misaligned paternity findings raises important controversy worldwide. It has mainly, however, been discussed in the context of high-income countries. Genetic and genomics research, with the potential to show misaligned paternity, are becoming increasingly common in Africa. During a genomics study in Kenya, a dilemma arose over testing and sharing information on paternal sickle cell disease status. This dilemma may be paradigmatic of challenges in sharing misaligned paternity findings in many research and health care settings. Using a deliberative approach to community consultation to inform research practice, we explored residents' views on paternal testing and sharing misaligned paternity information. Between December 2009 and November 2010, 63 residents in Kilifi County were engaged in informed deliberative small group discussions, structured to support normative reflection within the groups, with purposive selection to explore diversity. Analysis was based on a modified framework analysis approach, drawing on relevant social science and bioethics literature. The methods generated in-depth individual and group reflection on morally important issues and uncovered wide diversity in views and values. Fundamental and conflicting values emerged around the importance of family interests and openness, underpinned by disagreement on the moral implications of marital infidelity and withholding truth. Wider consideration of ethical issues emerging in these debates supports locally-held reasoning that paternal sickle cell testing should not be undertaken in this context, in contrast to views that testing should be done with or without the disclosure of misaligned paternity information. The findings highlight the importance of facilitating wider testing of family members of affected children, contingent on the development and implementation of national policies for the management of this inherited disorder. Their richness also illustrates the potential for the approach adopted in this study to strengthen community consultation.

Marsh V, Kombe F, Fitzpatrick R, Williams TN, Parker M, Molyneux S. 2013. Consulting communities on feedback of genetic findings in international health research: sharing sickle cell disease and carrier information in coastal Kenya. BMC Med Ethics, 14 (1), pp. 41. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: International health research in malaria-endemic settings may include screening for sickle cell disease, given the relationship between this important genetic condition and resistance to malaria, generating questions about whether and how findings should be disclosed. The literature on disclosing genetic findings in the context of research highlights the role of community consultation in understanding and balancing ethically important issues from participants' perspectives, including social forms of benefit and harm, and the influence of access to care. To inform research practice locally, and contribute to policy more widely, this study aimed to explore the views of local residents in Kilifi County in coastal Kenya on how researchers should manage study-generated information on sickle cell disease and carrier status. METHODS: Between June 2010 and July 2011, we consulted 62 purposively selected Kilifi residents on how researchers should manage study-generated sickle cell disease findings. Methods drew on a series of deliberative informed small group discussions. Data were analysed thematically, using charts, to describe participants' perceptions of the importance of disclosing findings, including reasoning, difference and underlying values. Themes were derived from the underlying research questions and from issues emerging from discussions. Data interpretation drew on relevant areas of social science and bioethics literature. RESULTS: Perceived health and social benefits generated strong support for disclosing findings on sickle cell disease, but the balance of social benefits and harms was less clear for sickle cell trait. Many forms of health and social benefits and harms of information-sharing were identified, with important underlying values related to family interests and the importance of openness. The influence of micro and macro level contextual features and prioritization of values led to marked diversity of opinion. CONCLUSIONS: The approach demonstrates a high ethical importance in many malaria endemic low-to-middle income country settings of disclosing sickle cell disease findings generated during research, alongside provision of effective care and locally-informed counselling. Since these services are central to the benefits of disclosure, health researchers whose studies include screening for sickle cell disease should actively promote the development of health policy and services for this condition in situations of unmet need, including through the prior development of collaborative partnerships with government health managers and providers. Community consultation can importantly enrich ethical debate on research practice where in-depth exploration of informed views and the potential for difference are taken into account.

Participants in the Community Engagement and Consent Workshop , Kilifi, Kenya , March 2011. 2013. Consent and community engagement in diverse research contexts. J Empir Res Hum Res Ethics, 8 (4), pp. 1-18. | Show Abstract | Read more

Consent and community engagement (CE) in health research are two aspects of a single concern-that research is carried out in a respectful manner where social value is maximized. There are important overlaps and interdependencies between consent and CE; for example, CE can provide insights into how best to tailor consent to context and can be an important component of consent processes. Engaging communities can also have intrinsic and instrumental value beyond consent; for example, as a means of showing respect and identifying appropriate ways of working respectfully. In this paper we critically examine how CE and consent processes are characterized, conducted, and evaluated in diverse health research contexts, and propose a preliminary research agenda to support future learning in these critical areas.

Angwenyi V, Kamuya D, Mwachiro D, Marsh V, Njuguna P, Molyneux S. 2013. Working with Community Health Workers as 'volunteers' in a vaccine trial: practical and ethical experiences and implications. Dev World Bioeth, 13 (1), pp. 38-47. | Show Abstract | Read more

Community engagement is increasingly emphasized in biomedical research, as a right in itself, and to strengthen ethical practice. We draw on interviews and observations to consider the practical and ethical implications of involving Community Health Workers (CHWs) as part of a community engagement strategy for a vaccine trial on the Kenyan Coast. CHWs were initially engaged as an important network to be informed about the trial. However over time, and in response to community advice, they became involved in trial information sharing and identifying potential participants; thereby taking on roles that overlapped with those of employed fieldworkers (FWs). While CHWs involvement was generally perceived as positive and appreciated, there were challenges in their relations with FWs and other community members, partly related to levels and forms of remuneration. Specifically, payment of CHWs was not as high as for FWs and was based on 'performance'. This extrinsic motivation had the potential to crowd out CHWs intrinsic motivation to perform their pre-existing community roles. CHWs remuneration potentially also contributed to CHWs distorting trial information to encourage community members to participate; and to researchers encouraging CHWs to utilize their social connections and status to increase the numbers of people who attended information giving sessions. Individual consent processes were protected in this trial through final information sharing and consent being conducted by trained clinical staff who were not embedded in study communities. However, our experiences suggest that roles and remuneration of all front line staff and volunteers involved in trials need careful consideration from the outset, and monitoring and discussion over time.

Marsh V, Mocamah G, Mabibo E, Kombe F, Williams TN. 2013. The "difficult patient" conundrum in sickle cell disease in Kenya: complex sociopolitical problems need wide multidimensional solutions. Am J Bioeth, 13 (4), pp. 20-22. | Read more

Gikonyo C, Kamuya D, Mbete B, Njuguna P, Olotu A, Bejon P, Marsh V, Molyneux S. 2013. Feedback of research findings for vaccine trials: experiences from two malaria vaccine trials involving healthy children on the Kenyan Coast. Dev World Bioeth, 13 (1), pp. 48-56. | Show Abstract | Read more

Internationally, calls for feedback of findings to be made an 'ethical imperative' or mandatory have been met with both strong support and opposition. Challenges include differences in issues by type of study and context, disentangling between aggregate and individual study results, and inadequate empirical evidence on which to draw. In this paper we present data from observations and interviews with key stakeholders involved in feeding back aggregate study findings for two Phase II malaria vaccine trials among children under the age of 5 years old on the Kenyan Coast. In our setting, feeding back of aggregate findings was an appreciated set of activities. The inclusion of individual results was important from the point of view of both participants and researchers, to reassure participants of trial safety, and to ensure that positive results were not over-interpreted and that individual level issues around blinding and control were clarified. Feedback sessions also offered an opportunity to re-evaluate and re-negotiate trial relationships and benefits, with potentially important implications for perceptions of and involvement in follow-up work for the trials and in future research. We found that feedback of findings is a complex but key step in a continuing set of social interactions between community members and research staff (particularly field staff who work at the interface with communities), and among community members themselves; a step which needs careful planning from the outset. We agree with others that individual and aggregate results need to be considered separately, and that for individual results, both the nature and value of the information, and the context, including social relationships, need to be taken into account.

Gikonyo C, Kamuya D, Mbete B, Njuguna P, Olotu A, Bejon P, Marsh V, Molyneux S. 2013. Feedback of Research Findings for Vaccine Trials: Experiences from Two Malaria Vaccine Trials Involving Healthy Children on the Kenyan Coast Developing World Bioethics, 13 (1), pp. 48-56. | Show Abstract | Read more

Internationally, calls for feedback of findings to be made an 'ethical imperative' or mandatory have been met with both strong support and opposition. Challenges include differences in issues by type of study and context, disentangling between aggregate and individual study results, and inadequate empirical evidence on which to draw. In this paper we present data from observations and interviews with key stakeholders involved in feeding back aggregate study findings for two Phase II malaria vaccine trials among children under the age of 5 years old on the Kenyan Coast. In our setting, feeding back of aggregate findings was an appreciated set of activities. The inclusion of individual results was important from the point of view of both participants and researchers, to reassure participants of trial safety, and to ensure that positive results were not over-interpreted and that individual level issues around blinding and control were clarified. Feedback sessions also offered an opportunity to re-evaluate and re-negotiate trial relationships and benefits, with potentially important implications for perceptions of and involvement in follow-up work for the trials and in future research. We found that feedback of findings is a complex but key step in a continuing set of social interactions between community members and research staff (particularly field staff who work at the interface with communities), and among community members themselves; a step which needs careful planning from the outset. We agree with others that individual and aggregate results need to be considered separately, and that for individual results, both the nature and value of the information, and the context, including social relationships, need to be taken into account. Copyright © 2013 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Cited:

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Kamuya DM, Marsh V, Kombe FK, Geissler PW, Molyneux SC. 2013. Engaging Communities to Strengthen Research Ethics in Low-Income Settings: Selection and Perceptions of Members of a Network of Representatives in Coastal Kenya Developing World Bioethics, 13 (1), pp. 10-20. | Show Abstract | Read more

There is wide agreement that community engagement is important for many research types and settings, often including interaction with 'representatives' of communities. There is relatively little published experience of community engagement in international research settings, with available information focusing on Community Advisory Boards or Groups (CAB/CAGs), or variants of these, where CAB/G members often advise researchers on behalf of the communities they represent. In this paper we describe a network of community members ('KEMRI Community Representatives', or 'KCRs') linked to a large multi-disciplinary research programme on the Kenyan Coast. Unlike many CAB/Gs, the intention with the KCR network has evolved to be for members to represent the geographical areas in which a diverse range of health studies are conducted through being typical of those communities. We draw on routine reports, self-administered questionnaires and interviews to: 1) document how typical KCR members are of the local communities in terms of basic characteristics, and 2) explore KCR's perceptions of their roles, and of the benefits and challenges of undertaking these roles. We conclude that this evolving network is a potentially valuable way of strengthening interactions between a research institution and a local geographic community, through contributing to meeting intrinsic ethical values such as showing respect, and instrumental values such as improving consent processes. However, there are numerous challenges involved. Other ways of interacting with members of local communities, including community leaders, and the most vulnerable groups least likely to be vocal in representative groups, have always been, and remain, essential. © 2013 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Kamuya DM, Marsh V, Kombe FK, Geissler PW, Molyneux SC. 2013. Engaging communities to strengthen research ethics in low-income settings: selection and perceptions of members of a network of representatives in coastal Kenya. Dev World Bioeth, 13 (1), pp. 10-20. | Show Abstract | Read more

There is wide agreement that community engagement is important for many research types and settings, often including interaction with 'representatives' of communities. There is relatively little published experience of community engagement in international research settings, with available information focusing on Community Advisory Boards or Groups (CAB/CAGs), or variants of these, where CAB/G members often advise researchers on behalf of the communities they represent. In this paper we describe a network of community members ('KEMRI Community Representatives', or 'KCRs') linked to a large multi-disciplinary research programme on the Kenyan Coast. Unlike many CAB/Gs, the intention with the KCR network has evolved to be for members to represent the geographical areas in which a diverse range of health studies are conducted through being typical of those communities. We draw on routine reports, self-administered questionnaires and interviews to: 1) document how typical KCR members are of the local communities in terms of basic characteristics, and 2) explore KCR's perceptions of their roles, and of the benefits and challenges of undertaking these roles. We conclude that this evolving network is a potentially valuable way of strengthening interactions between a research institution and a local geographic community, through contributing to meeting intrinsic ethical values such as showing respect, and instrumental values such as improving consent processes. However, there are numerous challenges involved. Other ways of interacting with members of local communities, including community leaders, and the most vulnerable groups least likely to be vocal in representative groups, have always been, and remain, essential.

Molyneux S, Mulupi S, Mbaabu L, Marsh V. 2012. Benefits and payments for research participants: experiences and views from a research centre on the Kenyan coast. BMC Med Ethics, 13 (1), pp. 13. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: There is general consensus internationally that unfair distribution of the benefits of research is exploitative and should be avoided or reduced. However, what constitutes fair benefits, and the exact nature of the benefits and their mode of provision can be strongly contested. Empirical studies have the potential to contribute viewpoints and experiences to debates and guidelines, but few have been conducted. We conducted a study to support the development of guidelines on benefits and payments for studies conducted by the KEMRI-Wellcome Trust programme in Kilifi, Kenya. METHODS: Following an initial broad based survey of cash, health services and other items being offered during research by all programme studies (n = 38 studies), interviews were held with research managers (n = 9), and with research staff involved in 8 purposively selected case studies (n = 30 interviewees). Interviews explored how these 'benefits' were selected and communicated, experiences with their administration, and recommendations for future guidelines. Data fed into a consultative workshop attended by 48 research staff and health managers, which was facilitated by an external ethicist. FINDINGS: The most commonly provided benefits were medical care (for example free care, and strengthened quality of care), and lunch or snacks. Most cash given to participants was reimbursement of transport costs (for example to meet appointments or facilitate use of services when unexpectedly sick), but these payments were often described by research participants as benefits. Challenges included: tensions within households and communities resulting from lack of clarity and agreement on who is eligible for benefits; suspicion regarding motivation for their provision; and confusion caused by differences between studies in types and levels of benefits. CONCLUSIONS: Research staff differed in their views on how benefits should be approached. Echoing elements of international benefit sharing and ancillary care debates, some research staff saw research as based on goodwill and partnership, and aimed to avoid costs to participants and a commercial relationship; while others sought to maximise participant benefits given the relative wealth of the institution and the multiple community needs. An emerging middle position was to strengthen collateral or indirect medical benefits to communities through collaborations with the Ministry of Health to support sustainability.

Boga M, Davies A, Kamuya D, Kinyanjui SM, Kivaya E, Kombe F, Lang T, Marsh V, Mbete B, Mlamba A et al. 2011. Strengthening the informed consent process in international health research through community engagement: The KEMRI-Wellcome Trust Research Programme Experience. PLoS Med, 8 (9), pp. e1001089. | Read more

Marsh VM, Kamuya DK, Parker MJ, Molyneux CS. 2011. Working with Concepts: The Role of Community in International Collaborative Biomedical Research. Public Health Ethics, 4 (1), pp. 26-39. | Show Abstract | Read more

The importance of communities in strengthening the ethics of international collaborative research is increasingly highlighted, but there has been much debate about the meaning of the term 'community' and its specific normative contribution. We argue that 'community' is a contingent concept that plays an important normative role in research through the existence of morally significant interplay between notions of community and individuality. We draw on experience of community engagement in rural Kenya to illustrate two aspects of this interplay: (i) that taking individual informed consent seriously involves understanding and addressing the influence of communities in which individuals' lives are embedded; (ii) that individual participation can generate risks and benefits for communities as part of the wider implications of research. We further argue that the contingent nature of a community means that defining boundaries is generally a normative process itself, with ethical implications. Community engagement supports the enactment of normative roles; building mutual understanding and trust between researchers and community members have been important goals in Kilifi, requiring a broad range of approaches. Ethical dilemmas are continuously generated as part of these engagement activities, including the risks of perverse outcomes related to existing social relations in communities and conditions of 'half knowing' intrinsic to processes of developing new understandings.

Kamuya D, Marsh V, Molyneux S. 2011. What we learned about voluntariness and consent: Incorporating "background situations" and understanding into analyses American Journal of Bioethics, 11 (8), pp. 31-33. | Read more

Marsh VM, Kamuya DM, Molyneux SS. 2011. 'All her children are born that way': gendered experiences of stigma in families affected by sickle cell disorder in rural Kenya. Ethn Health, 16 (4-5), pp. 343-359. | Show Abstract | Read more

OBJECTIVES: To explore early experiences of sickle cell disorder (SCD) in families with a young affected child, and the way these experiences influence relations within families. To consider ways in which stigma could be counteracted in health and research programmes in sub Saharan Africa. DESIGN: A qualitative study was conducted in a rural area of coastal Kenya including in-depth interviews with 13 families affected by SCD and 12 staff of a local biomedical research progamme. Purposive selection aimed to maximize diversity in socioeconomic and educational status, religion, severity of illness burden and religion amongst families and draw on relevant experience for staffs. Interviews were recorded, transcribed and analysed using the constant comparative method for family interviews and a thematic framework approach for staff data. RESULTS: Low initial recognition of SCD and its cause were associated with lay practices of surveillance within affected families, contributing to stigmatisation that occurred independently of genetic knowledge. Blame was often placed on mothers, including a risk of blame for misaligned paternity. Mothers are often particularly affected by SCD through the loss of independent livelihoods and their limited options in coping with this chronic condition. CONCLUSIONS: Mothers of children with SCD were particularly vulnerable to stigmatisation within families, with underlying structural influences that suggest these findings may apply to other similar settings in Africa, and have relevance for other genetic conditions. The potential, nature and form of stigmatisation point to the role of effective communication and SCD management in addressing for blame and discriminative effects of having a child with SCD. The findings highlight the importance of broader social programmes targeting underlying gender and economic inequalities.

Marsh VM, Kamuya DM, Mlamba AM, Williams TN, Molyneux SS. 2010. Experiences with community engagement and informed consent in a genetic cohort study of severe childhood diseases in Kenya. BMC Med Ethics, 11 (1), pp. 13. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: The potential contribution of community engagement to addressing ethical challenges for international biomedical research is well described, but there is relatively little documented experience of community engagement to inform its development in practice. This paper draws on experiences around community engagement and informed consent during a genetic cohort study in Kenya to contribute to understanding the strengths and challenges of community engagement in supporting ethical research practice, focusing on issues of communication, the role of field workers in 'doing ethics' on the ground and the challenges of community consultation. METHODS: The findings are based on action research methods, including analysis of community engagement documentation and the observations of the authors closely involved in their development and implementation. Qualitative and quantitative content analysis has been used for documentation of staff meetings and trainings, a meeting with 24 community leaders, and 40 large public and 70 small community group meetings. Meeting minutes from a purposive sample of six community representative groups have been analysed using a thematic framework approach. RESULTS: Field workers described challenges around misunderstandings about research, perceived pressure for recruitment and challenges in explaining the study. During consultation, leaders expressed support for the study and screening for sickle cell disease. In community meetings, there was a common interpretation of research as medical care. Concerns centred on unfamiliar procedures. After explanations of study procedures to leaders and community members, few questions were asked about export of samples or the archiving of samples for future research. CONCLUSIONS: Community engagement enabled researchers to take account of staff and community opinions and issues during the study and adapt messages and methods to address emerging ethical challenges. Field workers conducting informed consent faced complex issues and their understanding, attitudes and communication skills were key influences on ethical practice. Community consultation was a challenging concept to put into practice, illustrating the complexity of assessing information needs and levels of deliberation that are appropriate to a given study.

Abuya TO, Fegan G, Amin AA, Akhwale WS, Noor AM, Snow RW, Marsh V. 2010. Evaluating different dimensions of programme effectiveness for private medicine retailer malaria control interventions in Kenya. PLoS One, 5 (1), pp. e8937. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Private medicine retailers (PMRs) are key partners in the home management of fevers in many settings. Current evidence on effectiveness for PMR interventions at scale is limited. This study presents evaluation findings of two different programs implemented at moderate scale targeting PMRs for malaria control in the Kisii and Kwale districts of Kenya. Key components of this evaluation were measurement of program performance, including coverage, PMR knowledge, practices, and utilization based on spatial analysis. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: The study utilized mixed quantitative methods including retail audits and surrogate client surveys based on post-intervention cross-sectional surveys in intervention and control areas and mapping of intervention outlets. There was a large and significant impact on PMR knowledge and practices of the program in Kisii, with 60.5% of trained PMRs selling amodiaquine medicines in adequate doses compared to 2.8% of untrained ones (OR; 53.5: 95% CI 6.7, 428.3), a program coverage of 69.7% targeted outlets, and a potential utilization of about 30,000 children under five. The evaluation in Kwale also indicates a significant impact with 18.8% and 2.3% intervention and control PMRs selling amodiaquine with correct advice, respectively (OR; 9.4: 95% CI 1.1, 83.7), a program coverage of 25.3% targeted outlets, and a potential utilization of about 48,000 children under five. A provisional benchmark of 7.5 km was a reasonable threshold distance for households to access PMR services. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: This evaluation show that PMR interventions operationalized in the district level settings are likely to impact PMR knowledge and practices and lead to increased coverage of appropriate treatment to target populations. There is value of evaluating different dimensions of public health programs, including quality, spatial access, and implementation practice. This approach strengthens the potential contribution of pragmatic study designs to evaluating public health programs in the real world.

Molyneux S, Kamuya D, Marsh V. 2010. Community members employed on research projects face crucial, often under-recognized, ethical dilemmas American Journal of Bioethics, 10 (3), pp. 24-26. | Read more

Abuya T, Amin A, Molyneux S, Akhwale W, Marsh V, Gilson L. 2010. Importance of strategic management in the implementation of private medicine retailer programmes: case studies from three districts in Kenya. BMC Health Serv Res, 10 Suppl 1 (Suppl 1), pp. S7. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: The home-management of malaria strategy seeks to improve prompt and effective anti-malarial drug use through the informal sector, with a potential channel being the Private Medicine Retailers (PMRs). Previous evaluations of PMR programmes focused on their impact on retailer knowledge and practices, with limited evidence about the influence of implementation processes on the impacts at scale. This paper examines how the implementation processes of three PMR programmes in Kenya, each scaled up within a district, contributed to the outcomes observed. These were a Ministry of Health programme in Kwale district; and two programmes supported by non-governmental organizations in collaboration with government in Kisii Central and Bungoma districts. METHODS: The research methods included 24 focus group discussions with clients and PMRs, 19 in-depth interviews with implementing actors, document review and a diary of events. The data were analysed using the combination of a broad policy analysis framework and more specific scaling up/diffusion of innovations frameworks. RESULTS: The Kisii programme, a case study of successful implementation, was underpinned by good relationships between district health managers and a "resource team", supported by a memorandum of understanding which enabled successful implementation. It had flexible budgetary and decision making processes which were responsive to local contexts, and took account of local socio-economic activities. In contrast, the Kwale programme, which had implementation challenges, was characterised by a complex funding process, with lengthy timelines, that was tied to the government financial management system which constrained implementation Although there was a flexible funding system in Bungoma, a perceived lack of transparency in fund management, inadequate management of inter-organisational relationships, and inability to adapt and respond to changing circumstances led to implementation difficulties. CONCLUSIONS: For effective scaling up of PMR programmes, the provision of technical support and adequate resources are vital, but not sufficient on their own. An active strategy to manage relationships between implementing actors through effective communication mechanisms is essential. Successful outcomes may be realised if a strong and transparent management system, including management of financial resources, is put in place. This study provides evidence of the value of assessing implementation processes as part of impact evaluation for public health programmes.

Rowa Y, Abuya TO, Mutemi WK, Ochola S, Molyneux S, Marsh V. 2010. Factors influencing implementation of the Ministry of Health-led private medicine retailer programmes on malaria in Kenya. BMC Public Health, 10 (1), pp. 93. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Kenya has experienced a number of retail sector initiatives aimed at improving access to antimalarial medicines. This study explored stakeholders' perceptions of the role of private medicine retailers (PMRs), the value and feasibility of programme goals, perceived programme impact, factors influencing implementation and recommendations in three districts of Kenya. METHODS: This study was part of a larger evaluation of PMR programmes, including quantitative and qualitative components. The qualitative research was conducted to assess implementation processes and actors' experiences in the programmes, through focus group discussions with trained PMRs and mothers of children under five years, and in-depth interviews with programme managers, trainers and co-trainers. RESULTS: PMRs were perceived to provide rapid cheap treatment for non-serious conditions and used as a deliberate and continuously evaluated choice between different treatment sources. All stakeholders supported programme goals and most PMRs described increased customer satisfaction, more rational purchasing of medicine stock and increased medicine sales after participation. Factors undermining programme implementation included a lack of MoH resources to train and monitor large numbers of PMRs, the relative instability of outlets, medicines stocked and retail personnel, the large number of proprietary brands and financial challenges to retailers in stocking antimalarial medicines, and their customers in buying them. Unambiguous national support and a broad range of strategies are important to strengthen the feasibility of change in OTC antimalarial use. CONCLUSIONS: Understanding the context and implementation processes of PMR programmes and the perspectives of key actors are critical to identifying measures to support their effective implementation. Financial barriers underlie many described challenges, with important implications for policies on subsidies in this sector. In spite of barriers to implementation, increased exposure to programme activities promoted trust and improved relationships between PMRs and their clients and trainers, strengthening feasibility of such interventions. Public information can strengthen PMR training programmes by engaging local communities and may facilitate performance monitoring of PMRs by their clients.

Abuya T, Fegan G, Rowa Y, Karisa B, Ochola S, Mutemi W, Marsh V. 2009. Impact of ministry of health interventions on private medicine retailer knowledge and practices on anti-malarial treatment in Kenya. Am J Trop Med Hyg, 80 (6), pp. 905-913. | Show Abstract

Small-scale interventions on training medicine retailers on malaria treatment improve over-the-counter medicine use, but there is little evidence on effectiveness when scaled up. This study evaluated the impact of Ministry of Health (MoH) training programs on the knowledge and practices of medicine retailers in three districts in Kenya. A cluster randomized trial was planned across 10 administrative divisions. Findings indicated that 30.7% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 23.3, 39.0) and 5.2% (95% CI: 2.1, 10.3) of program and control retailers, respectively, sold MoH amodiaquine with correct advice on use to surrogate clients (OR = 8.8; 95% CI: 2.9, 26.9; P < 0.001). Similarly, 61.8% (95% CI: 54.2, 69.1) and 6.3% (95% CI: 2.7, 12.1) of program and control retailers, respectively, reported correct knowledge on dosing with amodiaquine (OR = 29.8; 95% CI: 8.2, 108.8). Large-scale retailer training programs within the national malaria control framework led to significant improvements in retailers' practices across three districts.

Gikonyo C, Bejon P, Marsh V, Molyneux S. 2008. Taking social relationships seriously: lessons learned from the informed consent practices of a vaccine trial on the Kenyan Coast. Soc Sci Med, 67 (5), pp. 708-720. | Show Abstract | Read more

Individual informed consent is a key ethical obligation for clinical studies, but empirical studies show that key requirements are often not met. Common recommendations to strengthen consent in low income settings include seeking permission from community members through existing structures before approaching individuals, considering informed consent as a process rather than a single event, and assessing participant understanding using questionnaires. In this paper, we report on a qualitative study exploring community understanding and perceptions of a malaria vaccine trial (MVT) conducted in a rural setting on the Kenyan Coast. The MVT incorporated all of the above recommendations into its information-giving processes. The findings support the importance of community level information-giving and of giving information on several different occasions before seeking final individual consent. However, an emerging issue was that inter-personal interactions and relationships between researchers and community members, and within the community, play a critical role in participants' perceptions of a study, their decisions to consent or withdraw, and their advice to researchers on study practicalities and information to feedback at the end of the trial. These relationships are based on and continually tested by information-giving processes, and by context specific concerns and interests that can be difficult to predict and are well beyond the timescale and reach of single research activities. On the basis of these findings, we suggest that the current move towards increasingly ambitious and stringent formal standards for information-giving to individuals be counter-balanced with greater attention to the diverse social relationships that are essential to the successful application of these procedures. This may be assisted by emphasising respecting communities as well as persons, and by recognising that current guidelines and regulations may be an inadequate response to the complex, often unpredictable and ever shifting ethical dilemmas facing research teams working 'in the field'.

Cited:

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Marsh V, Kamuya D, Rowa Y, Gikonyo C, Molyneux S. 2008. Beginning community engagement at a busy biomedical research programme: Experiences from the KEMRI CGMRC-Wellcome Trust Research Programme, Kilifi, Kenya Social Science and Medicine, 67 (5), pp. 721-733. | Show Abstract | Read more

There is wide acknowledgement of the need for community engagement in biomedical research, particularly in international settings. Recent debates have described theoretical approaches to identifying situations where this is most critical and potential mechanisms to achieve it. However, there is relatively little published experience of community engagement in practice. A major component of the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) Wellcome Trust Research Programme is centred on Kilifi District General Hospital and surrounding community of 240,000 local residents. Documented community perceptions of the research centre are generally positive, but many indicate a low understanding of research and therapeutic misconceptions of its activities. As in other settings, these misunderstandings have contributed to concerns and rumours, and potentially undermine ethical aspects of research and local trust in the institution. Through a series of consultative activities, a community engagement strategy has been developed in Kilifi to strengthen mutual understanding between community members and the Centre. One important component is the establishment of a representative local resident network in different geographic locations commonly involved in research, to supplement existing communication channels. Early implementation of the strategy has provid ed new and diverse opportunities for dialogue, interaction and partnership building. Through the complex social interactions inherent in the community engagement strategy, the centre aims to build context specific ethical relations with local residents and to strengthen understanding of how ethical principles can be applied in practice. Evaluations over time will assess the effectiveness and sustainability of these strategies, provide generalisable information for similar research settings, and contribute to debates on the universality of ethical principles for research. This paper aims to summarise the rationale for community engagement in research, drawing on published literature and local findings, to outline the process of community engagement in Kilifi and to describe issues emerging from its development and early implementation. © 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Abuya TO, Mutemi W, Karisa B, Ochola SA, Fegan G, Marsh V. 2007. Use of over-the-counter malaria medicines in children and adults in three districts in Kenya: implications for private medicine retailer interventions. Malar J, 6 (1), pp. 57. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Global malaria control strategies highlight the need to increase early uptake of effective antimalarials for childhood fevers in endemic settings, based on a presumptive diagnosis of malaria in this age group. Many control programmes identify private medicine sellers as important targets to promote effective early treatment, based on reported widespread inadequate childhood fever treatment practices involving the retail sector. Data on adult use of over-the-counter (OTC) medicines is limited. This study aimed to assess childhood and adult patterns of OTC medicine use to inform national medicine retailer programmes in Kenya and other similar settings. METHODS: Large-scale cluster randomized surveys of treatment seeking practices and malaria parasite prevalence were conducted for recent fevers in children under five years and recent acute illnesses in adults in three districts in Kenya with differing malaria endemicity. RESULTS: A total of 12, 445 households were visited and data collected on recent illnesses in 11, 505 children and 19, 914 adults. OTC medicines were the most popular first response to fever in children with fever (47.0%; 95% CI 45.5, 48.5) and adults with acute illnesses (56.8%; 95% CI 55.2, 58.3). 36.9% (95% CI 34.7, 39.2) adults and 22.7% (95% CI 20.9, 24.6) children using OTC medicines purchased antimalarials, with similar proportions in low and high endemicity districts. 1.9% (95% CI 0.8, 4.2) adults and 12.1% (95% CI 16.3,34.2) children used multidose antimalarials appropriately. Although the majority of children and adults sought no further treatment, self-referral to a health facility within 72 hours of illness onset was the commonest pattern amongst those seeking further help. CONCLUSION: In these surveys, OTC medicines were popular first treatments for fever in children or acute illnesses in adults. The proportions using OTC antimalarials were similar in areas of high and low malaria endemicity. In all districts, adults were more likely to self-treat with OTC antimalarial medicines than febrile children were to receive them, and less likely to use them in recommended ways. Government health centres were the most common second resort for treatment and were often used within 72 hours. In view of these practices, more research is needed to assess the impact on the popularity of private medicine sellers of strengthened public sector policies on access to malaria treatment and insecticide-treated bed nets. Improved targeting of OTC antimalarials to high risk groups, better communication strategies regarding adult as well as children's dosages, and facilitating more rapid referral to trained health workers where needed are important challenges to private medicine seller programmes.

Molyneux S, Gikonyo C, Marsh V, Bejon P. 2007. Incorporating a quiz into informed consent processes: qualitative study of participants' reactions. Malar J, 6 (1), pp. 145. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Formal checks of participant understanding are now widely recommended to improve informed consent processes. However, the views of the participants these assessments are designed to protect are rarely considered. In this paper the findings of a qualitative study aimed at documenting community reactions to a semi-structured questionnaire ('quiz') are reported. The quiz was administered to 189 mothers after consenting for their children to participate in a malaria vaccine trial on the Kenyan Coast. METHODS: Once the malaria vaccine trial was underway, focus group discussions were held with some of these mothers (nine groups; 103 mothers), and with community-based field staff attached to the malaria vaccine trial (two groups of five workers). Individual interviews with other trial staff were also held. RESULTS: The quiz prompted community members to voice concerns about blood sampling and vaccine side-effects, thereby encouraging additional discussions and interactions between the research team and potential study participants. However, it also caused significant upset and concern. Some of the quiz questions, or the way in which they were asked, appeared to fuel misconceptions and fears, with potentially negative consequences for both the study and community members. CONCLUSION: Formal approaches to checking study understanding should be employed with sensitivity and caution. They are influenced by and impact upon complex social relationships between and among researchers and community members. Adequate consideration of these contexts in assessments of understanding, and in responding to the issues raised, requires strong social science capacity.

Goodman CA, Mutemi WM, Baya EK, Willetts A, Marsh V. 2006. The cost-effectiveness of improving malaria home management: shopkeeper training in rural Kenya. Health Policy Plan, 21 (4), pp. 275-288. | Show Abstract | Read more

Home management is a very common approach to the treatment of illnesses such as malaria, acute respiratory infections, tuberculosis, diarrhoea and sexually transmitted infections, frequently through over-the-counter purchase of drugs from shops. Inappropriate drugs and doses are often obtained, but interventions to improve treatment quality are rare. An educational programme for general shopkeepers and communities in Kilifi District, rural Kenya was associated with major improvements in the use of over-the-counter anti-malarial drugs for childhood fevers. The two main components were workshop training for drug retailers and community information activities, with impact maintained through on-going refresher training, monitoring and community mobilization. This paper presents the cost and cost-effectiveness of the programme in terms of additional appropriately treated cases, evaluating both its measured cost-effectiveness in the first area of implementation (early implementation phase) and the estimated cost-effectiveness of the programme recommended for district-level implementation (recommended district programme). The proportion of shop-treated childhood fevers receiving an adequate amount of a recommended antimalarial rose from 2% to 15% in the early implementation phase, at an economic cost of 4.00 US dollars per additional appropriately treated case (2000 US dollars). If the same impact were achieved through the recommended district programme, the economic cost per additional appropriately treated case would be 0.84 US dollars, varying between 0.37 US dollars and 1.36 US dollars in the sensitivity analysis. As with most educational approaches, the programme carries a relatively high initial financial cost, of 11,477 US dollars (0.02 per capita US dollars) for the development phase and 81,450 US dollars (0.17 per capita US dollars) for the set up year, which would be particularly suitable for donor funding, while the annual costs of 18,129 US dollars (0.04 per capita US dollars) thereafter could be contained within the budget of a typical District. To reach the Abuja target of 60% of those suffering from malaria in sub-Saharan Africa having access to affordable and appropriate treatment within 24 hours, improvements in community-based malaria treatment are urgently required. From these results, policymakers can estimate costs for district-scale shopkeeper training programmes, and will be able to assess their relative cost-effectiveness as comparable evaluations become available from home management interventions in the future. Extrapolation of the results using a simple decision tree model to estimate the cost per DALY averted indicates that the intervention is likely to be considered highly cost-effective in comparison with standard benchmarks for interventions in low-income countries.

Lang T, Hughes D, Kanyok T, Kengeya-Kayondo J, Marsh V, Haaland A, Pirmohamed M, Winstanley P. 2006. Beyond registration--measuring the public-health potential of new treatments for malaria in Africa. Lancet Infect Dis, 6 (1), pp. 46-52. | Show Abstract | Read more

Malaria claims over one million lives a year in some of the poorest countries of the world. Affected populations and governments cannot afford to pay for expensive new therapies. Most antimalarial treatments are purchased from local shops and administered in the home. These factors make for a complex set of requirements for any new treatment for malaria if a substantial reduction in mortality is ever to be achieved. Thankfully there are several treatments being developed, mostly within public-private partnerships. Typically, the goal of public-private partnerships is the granting of a product license, so work plans end after phase III trials. As these drugs will ultimately be used unsupervised, malaria control programme managers will require further data on safety and whether the drug is as efficacious when used outside of controlled clinical trials before allowing widespread use of these new products. These data need to be collected in highly specific phase IV programmes. We explain why public-private partnerships should extend their development plans well beyond drug registration, and set out the requirements of such a programme. We aim to generate debate and discussion so that guidelines that are internationally accepted and adhered to can be developed not only for antimalarials but for all drugs that are being developed specifically for use in resource-poor settings.

Amin AA, Hughes DA, Marsh V, Abuya TO, Kokwaro GO, Winstanley PA, Ochola SA, Snow RW. 2004. The difference between effectiveness and efficacy of antimalarial drugs in Kenya. Trop Med Int Health, 9 (9), pp. 967-974. | Show Abstract | Read more

OBJECTIVE: To demonstrate the difference between effectiveness and efficacy of antimalarial (AM) drugs in Kenya. METHODS: We undertook a series of linked surveys in four districts of Kenya between 2001 and 2002 on (i) community usage of nationally recommended first- and second-line AM drugs; (ii) commonly stocked AM products in the retail and wholesale sectors; and (iii) quality of the most commonly available first- and second-line AM products. These were combined with estimates of adherence and clinical efficacy to derive overall drug effectiveness. RESULTS: The overall modelled effectiveness for sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP) was estimated to be 62% compared with 85% for reported SP clinical efficacy. For amodiaquine the modelled effectiveness was 48% compared with 99% reported efficacy during the same time period. CONCLUSIONS: The quality of AM products and patient adherence to dosage regimens are important determinants of drug effectiveness, and should be measured alongside clinical efficacy. Post-registration measures to regulate drug quality and improve patient adherence would contribute significantly to AM drug performance.

Amin AA, Marsh V, Noor AM, Ochola SA, Snow RW. 2003. The use of formal and informal curative services in the management of paediatric fevers in four districts in Kenya. Trop Med Int Health, 8 (12), pp. 1143-1152. | Show Abstract | Read more

OBJECTIVE: To assess the sources, costs, timing and types of treatment for fevers among children under 5 years of age in four ecologically distinct districts of Kenya. METHODS: Structured questionnaires were administered to caretakers of one randomly selected child aged <5 years per homestead to establish whether the child had had a fever within the last 14 days and the types, sources, costs, and timing of treatment. Drug charts of common proprietary anti-malarial and antipyretic drugs in Kenya were used as visual aids. RESULTS: A total of 2655 fevers were reported among 6287 (42.2%) children with significant differences between the four districts (P<0.01). A substantial number of fevers remained untreated (28.1%) across all districts and more fevers were treated in Greater Kisii than any other district (P<0.01). The median delay to any treatment was 2 days [inter-quartile range (IQR): 2, 4]. The informal retail sector had no transport costs associated with it and charged less for drugs than all the other sectors. Most antimalarial treated fevers occurred in the formal public sector (52.6%). Only 2.3% of fevers were treated within 24 h of onset with a sulphur-pyrimethamine drug, the nationally recommended first-line drug for the management of uncomplicated malaria. CONCLUSIONS: The Abuja target of ensuring that 60% of childhood fevers are treated with appropriate antimalarial drugs within 24 h of onset by 2010 is largely unmet and a major investment in improving prompt access to antimalarial drugs will be required to achieve this.

Marsh VM, Mutemi WM, Muturi J, Haaland A, Watkins WM, Otieno G, Marsh K. 1999. Changing home treatment of childhood fevers by training shop keepers in rural Kenya. Trop Med Int Health, 4 (5), pp. 383-389. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Malaria control in Africa relies primarily on early effective treatment for clinical disease, but most early treatments for fever occur through self-medication with shop-bought drugs. Lack of information to community members on over-the-counter drug use has led to widespread ineffective treatment of fevers, increased risks of drug toxicity and accelerating drug resistance. We examined the feasibility and measured the likely impact of training shop keepers in rural Africa on community drug use. METHODS: In a rural area of coastal Kenya, we implemented a shop keeper training programme in 23 shops serving a population of approximately 3500, based on formative research within the community. We evaluated the training by measuring changes in the proportions of drug sales where an adequate amount of chloroquine was purchased and in the percentage of home-treated childhood fevers given an adequate amount of chloroquine. The programme was assessed qualitatively in the community following the shop keeper training. RESULTS: The percentage of drug sales for children with fever which included an antimalarial drug rose from 34.3% (95% CI 28.9%-40.1%) before the training to a minimum of 79.3% (95% CI 71.8%-85.3%) after the training. The percentage of antimalarial drug sales where an adequate amount of drug was purchased rose from 31.8% (95% CI 26.6%-37.6%) to a minimum of 82.9% (95% CI 76.3%-87.3%). The percentage of childhood fevers where an adequate dose of chloroquine was given to the child rose from 3.7% (95% CI 1.2%-9.7%) before the training to a minimum of 65.2% (95% CI 57.7%-72.0%) afterwards, which represents an increase in the appropriate use of over-the-counter chloroquine by at least 62% (95% CI 53.7%-69.3%). Shop keepers and community members were strongly supportive of the aims and outcome of the programme. CONCLUSIONS: The large shifts in behaviour observed indicate that the approach of training shop keepers as a channel for information to the community is both feasible and likely to have a significant impact. Whilst some of the impact seen may be attributable to research effects in a relatively small scale pilot study, the magnitude of the changes support further investigation into this approach as a potentially important new strategy in malaria control.

English M, Marsh V, Amukoye E, Lowe B, Murphy S, Marsh K. 1996. Chronic salicylate poisoning and severe malaria. Lancet, 347 (9017), pp. 1736-1737. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND Salicylates continue to be marketed and to be used in developing countries as over-the-counter (OTC) antipyretics in children, whereas in developed countries they are no longer used in children because of safety concerns. The presenting signs of salicylate poisoning, especially chronic (repeated administration of therapeutic or excessive doses for longer than 12 h), can include metabolic acidosis, hypoglycaemia, lethargy, and coma and fits. These signs are also common in severe malaria in African children. Admission of two probable cases of chronic salicylate poisoning prompted us to look for other cases among children presenting to our hospital in Kenya, apparently with severe malaria. METHODS All children admitted to Kilifi District Hospital between July and September, 1994, who had a positive blood film for Plasmodium falciparum, and one or more of coma, prostration, or respiratory distress were eligible. As well as routine tests for malaria and routine biochemistry, salicylate concentrations were measured. Management of children (aged 6 months to 10 years) in the community was assessed by a cross-sectional survey of 463 households and by interviews with mothers 2 days after they had bought OTC drugs for a child with fever. FINDINGS Data were available for 143 of 154 children with initial primary diagnoses of severe malaria. 129 (90 percent) had detectable (>l mg/dL) salicylate. Six of these had salicylate concentrations of 20 mg/dL or higher. All six had neurological impairment and metabolic acidosis and four were, or became, hypoglycaemic. OTC drugs were the first-line treatment in 188 (74 percent) of 254 fever episodes during the 2 weeks before the cross-sectional survey. Of 250 mothers who bought drugs for a febrile child, 236 (94 percent) bought a preparation containing salicylates and 50 (21 percent) gave a dose higher than the manufacturer's recommended maximum. INTERPRETATION These cases suggest that in some children salicylate poisoning may cause or contribute to the development of metabolic acidosis and hypoglycaemia, complications of severe malaria associated with high mortality.

Waruiru CM, Newton CR, Forster D, New L, Winstanley P, Mwangi I, Marsh V, Winstanley M, Snow RW, Marsh K. 1996. Epileptic seizures and malaria in Kenyan children. Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg, 90 (2), pp. 152-155. | Show Abstract | Read more

Between October 1990 and November 1991 data were collected on the frequency, causes, and nature of epileptic seizures in children admitted to the paediatric ward at Kilifi District Hospital, Kenya, from a defined study area. During this period, 1324 children were studied, of whom 15.8% had seizures as part of their illness. Malaria was by far the commonest cause of seizures, accounting for 69.0%; no other single condition caused more than 4.4%. The proportion of respiratory infections complicated by seizures was 4.0% compared to 31.3% for malaria. Only 25% of malaria-related epileptic seizures were associated with cerebral malaria; the remainder were associated with otherwise uncomplicated malaria and, in this group, 84% had complex seizures, with 47% being partial and over 70% repetitive. There was no relationship with fever, with 54% of observed seizures occurring at rectal temperatures below 38 degrees C. The minimum community incidence of complex seizures in association with non-cerebral malaria was 5.8 per 1000 per year. Complex epileptic seizures in association with otherwise uncomplicated malaria are common and may be a significant cause of longer term morbidity in malaria endemic areas.

Marsh VM, Mutemi W, Some ES, Haaland A, Snow RW. 1996. Evaluating the community education programme of an insecticide-treated bed net trial on the Kenyan coast. Health Policy Plan, 11 (3), pp. 280-291. | Show Abstract | Read more

Increased interest in the potential contribution of insecticide-impregnated bed nets (ITBN) to malaria control has led to research efforts to determine the impact and sustainability of ITBN programmes in differing environments. There is a need to develop effective, feasible educational strategies that will both inform and motivate community members, and thus maximize the correct usage of ITBN. This is especially true in communities where indigenous usage of bed nets is low. This paper describes the educational component of a randomized controlled community intervention trial of ITBN, with childhood malaria morbidity as an outcome. The educational approach and messages for the ITBN trial were developed from anthropological survey data collected 4 years before the trial, and from community surveys conducted by project researchers. Low levels of understanding amongst mothers of the aetiological link between mosquitos and malaria led to the exclusion of the term 'malaria' from the initial educational messages promoting the use of ITBN. Appropriate individuals within the existing district health care structure were trained as community educators in the project. These educators conducted intensive teaching in the community through public meetings and group teaching in the first 6 months of the trial. The impact of these initial activities was assessed through interviews with a random sample of 100 mothers and 50 household heads. This allowed the identification of messages which had not been well understood and further educational methods were chosen to address the areas pinpointed. The community assessment also demonstrated that, in 1994, over 90% of mothers understood a protective role for bed nets against malaria and the ITBN education messages were changed to take account of this. The school programme was evaluated through determining outreach (the number of households accessed), changes in participant children's knowledge, post-teaching assessment of mothers' knowledge and discussions with parent-teacher associations. It was shown that 40% of intervention homes with children in the target group were accessed, participant children learned the educational messages well (scores increased from a pre-teaching mean of 59% to a post-teaching mean of 92%) and a high level of awareness of the ITBN trial was achieved in these homes (75%). However, specific messages of the education programmed were not well transferred to the home (30%). The discussion emphasises the need for allocation of adequate resources for education in programmes dependent on achieving a change in community practices. We also describe the value of ongoing communication between programme planners and a target population in maximizing the effectiveness of messages and methods used.

Marsh K, Forster D, Waruiru C, Mwangi I, Winstanley M, Marsh V, Newton C, Winstanley P, Warn P, Peshu N. 1995. Indicators of life-threatening malaria in African children. N Engl J Med, 332 (21), pp. 1399-1404. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: About 90 percent of the deaths from malaria are in African children, but criteria to guide the recognition and management of severe malaria have not been validated in them. METHODS: We conducted a prospective study of all children admitted to the pediatric ward of a Kenyan district hospital with a primary diagnosis of malaria. We calculated the frequency and mortality rate for each of the clinical and laboratory criteria in the current World Health Organization (WHO) definition of severe malaria, and then used logistic-regression analysis to identify the variables with the greatest prognostic value. RESULTS: We studied 1844 children (mean age, 26.4 months) with a primary diagnosis of malaria. Not included were 18 children who died on arrival and 4 who died of other causes. The mortality rate was 3.5 percent (95 percent confidence interval, 2.7 to 4.3 percent), and 84 percent of the deaths occurred within 24 hours of admission. Logistic-regression analysis identified four key prognostic indicators: impaired consciousness (relative risk, 3.3; 95 percent confidence interval, 1.6 to 7.0), respiratory distress (relative risk, 3.9; 95 percent confidence interval, 2.0 to 7.7), hypoglycemia (relative risk, 3.3; 95 percent confidence interval, 1.6 to 6.7), and jaundice (relative risk, 2.6; 95 percent confidence interval, 1.1 to 6.3). Of the 64 children who died, 54 were among those with impaired consciousness (n = 336; case fatality rate, 11.9 percent) or respiratory distress (n = 251; case fatality rate, 13.9 percent), or both. Hence, this simple bedside index identified 84.4 percent of the fatal cases, as compared with the 79.7 percent identified by the current WHO criteria. CONCLUSIONS: In African children with malaria, the presence of impaired consciousness or respiratory distress can identify those at high risk for death.

Snow RW, Armstrong JR, Forster D, Winstanley MT, Marsh VM, Newton CR, Waruiru C, Mwangi I, Winstanley PA, Marsh K. 1992. Childhood deaths in Africa: uses and limitations of verbal autopsies. Lancet, 340 (8815), pp. 351-355. | Show Abstract | Read more

The verbal autopsy (VA) is an epidemiological tool that is widely used to ascribe causes of death by interviewing bereaved relatives of children who were not under medical supervision at the time of death. This technique was assessed by comparison with a prospective survey of 303 childhood deaths at a district hospital in Kenya where medically confirmed diagnoses were available. Common causes of death were detected by VA with specificities greater than 80%. Sensitivity of the VA technique was greater than 75% for measles, neonatal tetanus, malnutrition, and trauma-related deaths; however, malaria, anaemia, acute respiratory-tract infection, gastroenteritis, and meningitis were detected with sensitivities of less than 50%. There may have been unwarranted optimism in the ability of VAs to detect some of the major causes of death, such as malaria, in African children. VA used in malaria-specific intervention trials should be interpreted with caution and only in the light of known sensitivities and specificities.

Njue M, Kombe F, Mwalukore S, Molyneux S, Marsh V. 2014. What are fair study benefits in international health research? Consulting community members in Kenya. PLoS One, 9 (12), pp. e113112. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Planning study benefits and payments for participants in international health research in low- income settings can be a difficult and controversial process, with particular challenges in balancing risks of undue inducement and exploitation and understanding how researchers should take account of background inequities. At an international health research programme in Kenya, this study aimed to map local residents' informed and reasoned views on the effects of different levels of study benefits and payments to inform local policy and wider debates in international research. METHODS AND FINDINGS: Using a relatively novel two-stage process community consultation approach, five participatory workshops involving 90 local residents from diverse constituencies were followed by 15 small group discussions, with components of information-sharing, deliberation and reflection to situate normative reasoning within debates. Framework Analysis drew inductively and deductively on voice-recorded discussions and field notes supported by Nvivo 10 software, and the international research ethics literature. Community members' views on study benefits and payments were diverse, with complex contextual influences and interplay between risks of giving 'too many' and 'too few' benefits, including the role of cash. While recognising important risks for free choice, research relationships and community values in giving 'too many', the greatest concerns were risks of unfairness in giving 'too few' benefits, given difficulties in assessing indirect costs of participation and the serious consequences for families of underestimation, related to perceptions of researchers' responsibilities. CONCLUSIONS: Providing benefits and payments to participants in international research in low-income settings is an essential means by which researchers meet individual-level and structural forms of ethical responsibilities, but understanding how this can be achieved requires a careful account of social realities and local judgment. Concerns about undue inducement in low-income communities may often be misplaced; we argue that greater attention should be placed on avoiding unfairness, particularly for the most-poor.

Marsh V, Kombe F, Fitzpatrick R, Molyneux S, Parker M. 2013. Managing misaligned paternity findings in research including sickle cell disease screening in Kenya: 'consulting communities' to inform policy. Soc Sci Med, 96 pp. 192-199. | Show Abstract | Read more

The management of misaligned paternity findings raises important controversy worldwide. It has mainly, however, been discussed in the context of high-income countries. Genetic and genomics research, with the potential to show misaligned paternity, are becoming increasingly common in Africa. During a genomics study in Kenya, a dilemma arose over testing and sharing information on paternal sickle cell disease status. This dilemma may be paradigmatic of challenges in sharing misaligned paternity findings in many research and health care settings. Using a deliberative approach to community consultation to inform research practice, we explored residents' views on paternal testing and sharing misaligned paternity information. Between December 2009 and November 2010, 63 residents in Kilifi County were engaged in informed deliberative small group discussions, structured to support normative reflection within the groups, with purposive selection to explore diversity. Analysis was based on a modified framework analysis approach, drawing on relevant social science and bioethics literature. The methods generated in-depth individual and group reflection on morally important issues and uncovered wide diversity in views and values. Fundamental and conflicting values emerged around the importance of family interests and openness, underpinned by disagreement on the moral implications of marital infidelity and withholding truth. Wider consideration of ethical issues emerging in these debates supports locally-held reasoning that paternal sickle cell testing should not be undertaken in this context, in contrast to views that testing should be done with or without the disclosure of misaligned paternity information. The findings highlight the importance of facilitating wider testing of family members of affected children, contingent on the development and implementation of national policies for the management of this inherited disorder. Their richness also illustrates the potential for the approach adopted in this study to strengthen community consultation.

Participants in the Community Engagement and Consent Workshop , Kilifi, Kenya , March 2011. 2013. Consent and community engagement in diverse research contexts. J Empir Res Hum Res Ethics, 8 (4), pp. 1-18. | Show Abstract | Read more

Consent and community engagement (CE) in health research are two aspects of a single concern-that research is carried out in a respectful manner where social value is maximized. There are important overlaps and interdependencies between consent and CE; for example, CE can provide insights into how best to tailor consent to context and can be an important component of consent processes. Engaging communities can also have intrinsic and instrumental value beyond consent; for example, as a means of showing respect and identifying appropriate ways of working respectfully. In this paper we critically examine how CE and consent processes are characterized, conducted, and evaluated in diverse health research contexts, and propose a preliminary research agenda to support future learning in these critical areas.

Molyneux S, Mulupi S, Mbaabu L, Marsh V. 2012. Benefits and payments for research participants: experiences and views from a research centre on the Kenyan coast. BMC Med Ethics, 13 (1), pp. 13. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: There is general consensus internationally that unfair distribution of the benefits of research is exploitative and should be avoided or reduced. However, what constitutes fair benefits, and the exact nature of the benefits and their mode of provision can be strongly contested. Empirical studies have the potential to contribute viewpoints and experiences to debates and guidelines, but few have been conducted. We conducted a study to support the development of guidelines on benefits and payments for studies conducted by the KEMRI-Wellcome Trust programme in Kilifi, Kenya. METHODS: Following an initial broad based survey of cash, health services and other items being offered during research by all programme studies (n = 38 studies), interviews were held with research managers (n = 9), and with research staff involved in 8 purposively selected case studies (n = 30 interviewees). Interviews explored how these 'benefits' were selected and communicated, experiences with their administration, and recommendations for future guidelines. Data fed into a consultative workshop attended by 48 research staff and health managers, which was facilitated by an external ethicist. FINDINGS: The most commonly provided benefits were medical care (for example free care, and strengthened quality of care), and lunch or snacks. Most cash given to participants was reimbursement of transport costs (for example to meet appointments or facilitate use of services when unexpectedly sick), but these payments were often described by research participants as benefits. Challenges included: tensions within households and communities resulting from lack of clarity and agreement on who is eligible for benefits; suspicion regarding motivation for their provision; and confusion caused by differences between studies in types and levels of benefits. CONCLUSIONS: Research staff differed in their views on how benefits should be approached. Echoing elements of international benefit sharing and ancillary care debates, some research staff saw research as based on goodwill and partnership, and aimed to avoid costs to participants and a commercial relationship; while others sought to maximise participant benefits given the relative wealth of the institution and the multiple community needs. An emerging middle position was to strengthen collateral or indirect medical benefits to communities through collaborations with the Ministry of Health to support sustainability.

Marsh VM, Kamuya DK, Parker MJ, Molyneux CS. 2011. Working with Concepts: The Role of Community in International Collaborative Biomedical Research. Public Health Ethics, 4 (1), pp. 26-39. | Show Abstract | Read more

The importance of communities in strengthening the ethics of international collaborative research is increasingly highlighted, but there has been much debate about the meaning of the term 'community' and its specific normative contribution. We argue that 'community' is a contingent concept that plays an important normative role in research through the existence of morally significant interplay between notions of community and individuality. We draw on experience of community engagement in rural Kenya to illustrate two aspects of this interplay: (i) that taking individual informed consent seriously involves understanding and addressing the influence of communities in which individuals' lives are embedded; (ii) that individual participation can generate risks and benefits for communities as part of the wider implications of research. We further argue that the contingent nature of a community means that defining boundaries is generally a normative process itself, with ethical implications. Community engagement supports the enactment of normative roles; building mutual understanding and trust between researchers and community members have been important goals in Kilifi, requiring a broad range of approaches. Ethical dilemmas are continuously generated as part of these engagement activities, including the risks of perverse outcomes related to existing social relations in communities and conditions of 'half knowing' intrinsic to processes of developing new understandings.

Marsh VM, Kamuya DM, Molyneux SS. 2011. 'All her children are born that way': gendered experiences of stigma in families affected by sickle cell disorder in rural Kenya. Ethn Health, 16 (4-5), pp. 343-359. | Show Abstract | Read more

OBJECTIVES: To explore early experiences of sickle cell disorder (SCD) in families with a young affected child, and the way these experiences influence relations within families. To consider ways in which stigma could be counteracted in health and research programmes in sub Saharan Africa. DESIGN: A qualitative study was conducted in a rural area of coastal Kenya including in-depth interviews with 13 families affected by SCD and 12 staff of a local biomedical research progamme. Purposive selection aimed to maximize diversity in socioeconomic and educational status, religion, severity of illness burden and religion amongst families and draw on relevant experience for staffs. Interviews were recorded, transcribed and analysed using the constant comparative method for family interviews and a thematic framework approach for staff data. RESULTS: Low initial recognition of SCD and its cause were associated with lay practices of surveillance within affected families, contributing to stigmatisation that occurred independently of genetic knowledge. Blame was often placed on mothers, including a risk of blame for misaligned paternity. Mothers are often particularly affected by SCD through the loss of independent livelihoods and their limited options in coping with this chronic condition. CONCLUSIONS: Mothers of children with SCD were particularly vulnerable to stigmatisation within families, with underlying structural influences that suggest these findings may apply to other similar settings in Africa, and have relevance for other genetic conditions. The potential, nature and form of stigmatisation point to the role of effective communication and SCD management in addressing for blame and discriminative effects of having a child with SCD. The findings highlight the importance of broader social programmes targeting underlying gender and economic inequalities.

Gikonyo C, Bejon P, Marsh V, Molyneux S. 2008. Taking social relationships seriously: lessons learned from the informed consent practices of a vaccine trial on the Kenyan Coast. Soc Sci Med, 67 (5), pp. 708-720. | Show Abstract | Read more

Individual informed consent is a key ethical obligation for clinical studies, but empirical studies show that key requirements are often not met. Common recommendations to strengthen consent in low income settings include seeking permission from community members through existing structures before approaching individuals, considering informed consent as a process rather than a single event, and assessing participant understanding using questionnaires. In this paper, we report on a qualitative study exploring community understanding and perceptions of a malaria vaccine trial (MVT) conducted in a rural setting on the Kenyan Coast. The MVT incorporated all of the above recommendations into its information-giving processes. The findings support the importance of community level information-giving and of giving information on several different occasions before seeking final individual consent. However, an emerging issue was that inter-personal interactions and relationships between researchers and community members, and within the community, play a critical role in participants' perceptions of a study, their decisions to consent or withdraw, and their advice to researchers on study practicalities and information to feedback at the end of the trial. These relationships are based on and continually tested by information-giving processes, and by context specific concerns and interests that can be difficult to predict and are well beyond the timescale and reach of single research activities. On the basis of these findings, we suggest that the current move towards increasingly ambitious and stringent formal standards for information-giving to individuals be counter-balanced with greater attention to the diverse social relationships that are essential to the successful application of these procedures. This may be assisted by emphasising respecting communities as well as persons, and by recognising that current guidelines and regulations may be an inadequate response to the complex, often unpredictable and ever shifting ethical dilemmas facing research teams working 'in the field'.

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Marsh V, Kamuya D, Rowa Y, Gikonyo C, Molyneux S. 2008. Beginning community engagement at a busy biomedical research programme: Experiences from the KEMRI CGMRC-Wellcome Trust Research Programme, Kilifi, Kenya Social Science and Medicine, 67 (5), pp. 721-733. | Show Abstract | Read more

There is wide acknowledgement of the need for community engagement in biomedical research, particularly in international settings. Recent debates have described theoretical approaches to identifying situations where this is most critical and potential mechanisms to achieve it. However, there is relatively little published experience of community engagement in practice. A major component of the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) Wellcome Trust Research Programme is centred on Kilifi District General Hospital and surrounding community of 240,000 local residents. Documented community perceptions of the research centre are generally positive, but many indicate a low understanding of research and therapeutic misconceptions of its activities. As in other settings, these misunderstandings have contributed to concerns and rumours, and potentially undermine ethical aspects of research and local trust in the institution. Through a series of consultative activities, a community engagement strategy has been developed in Kilifi to strengthen mutual understanding between community members and the Centre. One important component is the establishment of a representative local resident network in different geographic locations commonly involved in research, to supplement existing communication channels. Early implementation of the strategy has provid ed new and diverse opportunities for dialogue, interaction and partnership building. Through the complex social interactions inherent in the community engagement strategy, the centre aims to build context specific ethical relations with local residents and to strengthen understanding of how ethical principles can be applied in practice. Evaluations over time will assess the effectiveness and sustainability of these strategies, provide generalisable information for similar research settings, and contribute to debates on the universality of ethical principles for research. This paper aims to summarise the rationale for community engagement in research, drawing on published literature and local findings, to outline the process of community engagement in Kilifi and to describe issues emerging from its development and early implementation. © 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Marsh VM, Mutemi WM, Muturi J, Haaland A, Watkins WM, Otieno G, Marsh K. 1999. Changing home treatment of childhood fevers by training shop keepers in rural Kenya. Trop Med Int Health, 4 (5), pp. 383-389. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Malaria control in Africa relies primarily on early effective treatment for clinical disease, but most early treatments for fever occur through self-medication with shop-bought drugs. Lack of information to community members on over-the-counter drug use has led to widespread ineffective treatment of fevers, increased risks of drug toxicity and accelerating drug resistance. We examined the feasibility and measured the likely impact of training shop keepers in rural Africa on community drug use. METHODS: In a rural area of coastal Kenya, we implemented a shop keeper training programme in 23 shops serving a population of approximately 3500, based on formative research within the community. We evaluated the training by measuring changes in the proportions of drug sales where an adequate amount of chloroquine was purchased and in the percentage of home-treated childhood fevers given an adequate amount of chloroquine. The programme was assessed qualitatively in the community following the shop keeper training. RESULTS: The percentage of drug sales for children with fever which included an antimalarial drug rose from 34.3% (95% CI 28.9%-40.1%) before the training to a minimum of 79.3% (95% CI 71.8%-85.3%) after the training. The percentage of antimalarial drug sales where an adequate amount of drug was purchased rose from 31.8% (95% CI 26.6%-37.6%) to a minimum of 82.9% (95% CI 76.3%-87.3%). The percentage of childhood fevers where an adequate dose of chloroquine was given to the child rose from 3.7% (95% CI 1.2%-9.7%) before the training to a minimum of 65.2% (95% CI 57.7%-72.0%) afterwards, which represents an increase in the appropriate use of over-the-counter chloroquine by at least 62% (95% CI 53.7%-69.3%). Shop keepers and community members were strongly supportive of the aims and outcome of the programme. CONCLUSIONS: The large shifts in behaviour observed indicate that the approach of training shop keepers as a channel for information to the community is both feasible and likely to have a significant impact. Whilst some of the impact seen may be attributable to research effects in a relatively small scale pilot study, the magnitude of the changes support further investigation into this approach as a potentially important new strategy in malaria control.

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