The National Research Ethics Board (NREB) was reconstituted in 2014, during the heat of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) Epidemics in Liberia, with the primary intent of protecting research participants whileaccounting for the interests of researcher during the implementation of research studies. The general ethical framework required for the Protection of research participants is based on the three pillars of respect for person (Autonomy), beneficence and justice. The NREB role is to principally analyze and assess the risk-benefit ratios of proposed research studies for the protection of research participants.

 As the advisory institution responsible to oversee all research related protocols from within and out of Liberia, the Board was established to review, evaluate and render decisions regarding the ethical merits of the research protocols. The mission of the Board is to ensure and guarantee the rights, dignity, safety and protection of all individuals and communities that participate in research activities. The committee is also committed to ensuring the scientific merits of the research studies while protecting the rights of human subjects.

 The objective of this guideline is to contribute to the effective functioning of the NREB to ensure that quality and consistent ethical review mechanisms for health and biomedical research are instituted by the board as prescribed by the Ethical guidelines for biomedical, health sciences, and behavioral research on human subjects in Liberia.

The NREB, as the national ethics committee of Liberia, shall review all submitted research proposals in keeping with the following internationally recognized ethical standards (the Belmont Report of 1979; World Medical Association’s Declaration of Helsinki (1964), as amended (currently 2013); ICH Good Clinical Practice (R1, 1997 & R2, 2016);and the CIOMS International Ethical Guidelines for Health-related research involving human subjects (2016) in keep with country specific regulations and guidelines.

Functions of the NREB

  • Conduct ethical reviews for submitted research proposals from individual investigators, nationally and internationally recognized entities.
  • Monitor the conduct of research for health to ensure compliance with approved protocol.
  • Establish and maintain a repository of all protocols reviewed in the country along with completed research/study reports.
  • Support research ethics capacity building.
  • Determine generic guidelines for the functioning of health research in Liberia.
  • Maintain a registry of health research ethics committees.
  • Set norms and standards for conducting research on humans and animals, including clinical trials.
  • Mitigate conflicts among IRBs, researchers and research entities.
  • Inform professional bodies of breech of ethical standards on the part of relevant professional.
  • Recommend disciplinary action(s), where appropriate.
  • Advise the Government of Liberia (GoL) on ethical issue.