The Faculty of Health Sciences Research Ethics Committee is tasked with the ethics of all health research and operates in terms of the National Health Act (2003), the Code of Ethics for Research of the University of Pretoria, and the National Health Research Ethics Council.
It is accredited nationally and internationally as follows:
- National Health Research Ethics Council of the South African Department of Health. REC-120208-018
- Office of Human Research Protection of the USA Department of Health & Human Services'
- Federalwide Assurance FWA 00002567, Approved dd 22 May 2002 and Expires 03/20/2022.
- IRB 0000 2235 IORG0001762 Approved dd 22/04/2014 and Expires 03/14/2020.
It is a legal imperative that all health research must be reviewed by the Research Ethics Committee in terms of the National Health Act as well as the policy (Rt 429/99) of the University of Pretoria
The National Health Act (Act 61 of 2003) states in section 73(2):
A health research ethics committee must -
(a) review research proposals and protocols in order to ensure that research conducted by the relevant institution, agency or establishment will promote health, contribute to the prevention of communicable or non-communicable diseases or disability or result in cures for communicable or non-communicable
(b) grant approval for research by the relevant institution, agency or establishment in instances where research proposals and protocol meet the ethical standards of that health research ethics committee.
All health research must be considered by the Research Ethics Committee, where the section of the National Health Act defines health research as:
any research which contributes to knowledge of-
(a) the biological, clinical, psychological or social processes in human beings;
(b) improved methods for the provision of health services;
(c) human pathology;
(d) causes of the diseases;
(e) the effects of the environment on the human body;
(f) the development or new application of pharmaceuticals, medicines and
(g) the development of new applications of health technology.