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BMC Med Ethics. 2020 Jan 6;21(1):1. doi: 10.1186/s12910-019-0441-3.

Informed consent procedure in a double blind randomized anthelminthic trial on Pemba Island, Tanzania: do pamphlet and information session increase caregivers knowledge?

Author information

1
Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute, Basel, Switzerland.
2
University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland.
3
Public Health Laboratory Ivo de Carneri, Chake Chake, Tanzania.
4
Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute, Basel, Switzerland. jennifer.keiser@swisstph.ch.
5
University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland. jennifer.keiser@swisstph.ch.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

In clinical research, obtaining informed consent from participants is an ethical and legal requirement. Conveying the information concerning the study can be done using multiple methods yet this step commonly relies exclusively on the informed consent form alone. While this is legal, it does not ensure the participant's true comprehension. New effective methods of conveying consent information should be tested. In this study we compared the effect of different methods on the knowledge of caregivers of participants of a clinical trial on Pemba Island, Tanzania.

METHODS:

A total of 254 caregivers were assigned to receive (i) a pamphlet (n = 63), (ii) an oral information session (n = 62) or (iii) a pamphlet and an oral information session (n = 64) about the clinical trial procedures, their rights, benefits and potential risks. Their post-intervention knowledge was assessed using a questionnaire. One group of caregivers had not received any information when they were interviewed (n = 65).

RESULTS:

In contrast to the pamphlet, attending an information session significantly increased caregivers' knowledge for some of the questions. Most of these questions were either related to the parasite (hookworm) or to the trial design (study procedures).

CONCLUSIONS:

In conclusion, within our trial on Pemba Island, a pamphlet was found to not be a good form of conveying clinical trial information while an oral information session improved knowledge. Not all caregivers attending an information session responded correctly to all questions; therefore, better forms of communicating information need to be found to achieve a truly informed consent.

KEYWORDS:

Clinical trial; Hookworm; Information session; Informed consent; Mebendazole; Pamphlet; Understanding

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