National Health Ethics and Research Committee



1.1. To improve the health of the Tongan people through supporting, promoting and upholding appropriate high quality health research that is consistent with Tongan people’s context, values and standards;

1.2. To protect and safeguard the dignity, rights, safety, health and well-being of all Tongan people partaking in a research study or potential research participants;

1.3. To review and provide independent comment on the ethical and possible cultural problems that may arise in any aspect of health research;


Ethical Review

2.1. Provide independent, competent and timely review of the ethics of research proposals involving human participants;

2.2. To create and continually review Ethical Codes and Guidelines for personnel undertaking health-related research with human subjects and human tissue/parts involving the Ministry of Health;

2.3. To monitor all ethical aspects of health research and ensure health researchers uphold and conduct responsible and ethical research;

Health Research Policies and Processes

2.4. The initiation and support for health research;

2.5. Development of a national research application form (R1);

2.6. Development, endorsement and enforcement of the Ministry of Health ‘Health Research policy’;

2.7. Development and enforcement of corresponding law, acts, guidelines and standards that assist, support and maintain ethical research practices;

2.8. Advising or informing the National Health Development Committee (NHDC) on health research policies and guidelines and health-related research proposals/studies;

2.9. The promotion and dissemination of health research results and the utilization of these results to the improvement of health practices and operations, health policy, and health care delivery to ultimately improve the health of the Tongan people;

2.10. Regularly review and update the Operational Guidelines and policies, if changes are required;

2.11. The NHERC submits an annual report to the NHDC by March each year;

Health Research and Ethics Development

2.12. Fostering, recruitment, education, training and retention of individuals engaged in health research in Tonga;

2.13. The encouragement of health research initiatives by soliciting research proposals and applications, particularly in areas considered by the NHERC to have a high priority;

2.14. Develop and maintain close and supportive relationships with Institutions and researchers including charitable, private or other organizations that fund and conduct health research