After truly impressing during a fellowship program in the United States, 29-year old Masego Julia Gaorekwe was appointed Western Institutional Review Board (WIRB) reviewer for clinical trials conducted in Botswana. Training at the University of Botswana (UB), Ms. Gaorekwe represents the first Motswana (person from Botswana) to be selected for this prestigious, 51-year-old board. Combining beauty, brains, and a dedicated work ethic, Ms. Gaorekwe will be part of a panel reviewing any protocol or research to be done in Botswana.
Clinical Research in Botswana
Once one of the world’s poorest countries, the landlocked African nation of nearly 2.5 million has rapidly transformed itself into a dynamic, growing economy. Traditionally focused on mining, cattle, and tourism, its GDP purchasing power per capita has grown to $18,825 by 2015, one of the highest in Africa.
The James Lund Institute recently reported that the nation’s Medicines Regulatory Authority made considerable progress in reducing clinical trial study start-up approval timelines to help improve research and development capacity locally. They are aligned with South Africa for a regional initiative. Overarching health authority in Botswana is the Ministry of Health.
A review of Clincialtrials.gov reveals at least 65 published studies that have been conducted in Botswana since trial publishing requirements were required. Presently based on a cursory TrialSite News review, the country is home to 22 active clinical trials. At least five industry-based studies are ongoing presently.
WIRB & The WCG Roll-up with Global Reach
Ms. Gaorekwe was appointed a Western institutional Review Board reviewer for Botswana. WIRB is an independent IRB located in Olympia, Washington, that provides services for academic and non-academic institutions. WIRB is accredited by the Association of the Accreditation of Human Research Protection Programs (AAHRPP) and part of private-equity financed WIRB-Copernicus Group (WCG). As TrialSite News has covered, private-equity infused “role-ups” create super-sites and super-sized integrated clinical services organizations (including IRB services) with global reach. After all, WCG now offers IRB services to over 400 institutions from research centers and sites to contract research organizations (CROs) to individual principal investigators.
The Voice’s Portia Mlilo interviewed Ms. Gaorekwe to discuss her journal from humble roots to be the first person from Botswana to be the country representative on this prestigious WCG IRB review board. Follow the source link to read the entire interview.