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Open Access Research article

Knowledge and attitudes to personal genomics testing for complex diseases among Nigerians

Lawrence Fagbemiro12* and Clement Adebamowo234

Author Affiliations

1 National Drug and Poison Information Centre, Federal Ministry of Health, Abuja, FCT, Nigeria

2 West African Bioethics Training Program, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria

3 Institute of Human Virology, Abuja, FCT, Nigeria

4 Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, Institute of Human Virology and Greenebaum Cancer Center, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD 21201, USA

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BMC Medical Ethics 2014, 15:34  doi:10.1186/1472-6939-15-34

Published: 27 April 2014

Abstract

Background

The study examined the knowledge and attitudes to personal genomics testing for complex diseases among Nigerians and identified how the knowledge and attitudes vary with gender, age, religion, education and related factors.

Methods

Data were collected using qualitative method in 2 districts of the Federal Capital Territory. In the study, eight (8) Focused Group Discussions (FGDs) and twenty seven (27) Key Informant Interviews (KIIs) were conducted. Participants for the research were recruited among healthy Nigerians, individuals with complex diseases, health care professionals, community leaders and health policy makers.

Result

Analysis of the result showed that most respondents in both FGDs and KIIs had limited knowledge about genomics test initially. Their understanding of the test however improved after explanation on its concept. Participants showed positive attitude towards genomics tests. Nevertheless they expressed fear over direct to consumer personal genomics testing, testing unborn babies and disclosure of results to third parties. Culture and religion were found to influence the perspectives of respondents on genomics test particularly those aspects that could either directly contradict their beliefs and practices or lead to actions which contradict them.

Conclusion

In conclusion, most Nigerians interviewed had limited knowledge of genomics test but with supportive attitude towards its use in predicting future risk of complex diseases after understanding the test concept. Genomics testing for complex diseases was not a common practice in Nigeria.

Keywords:
Genomics testing; Personal; Ethics; Abortion; Religion; Complex diseases