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Considering the ethical aspects of research in global health emergencies

Posted on 28 November 2017

Sanjoy Bhattacharya joins working group examining the ethical challenges of conducting research in global health emergencies

Director of CGHH Professor Sanjoy Bhattacharya has been invited to become a member of a new Nuffield Council on Bioethics working group that will examine the ethical challenges of conducting research in global health emergencies.

This project will explore how research may be conducted ethically in global health emergencies, taking into account the diverse forms that such emergencies can take such as an infectious disease outbreak, conflict, or natural disaster. The working group will be chaired by Professor Michael Parker, Director of the Wellcome Centre for Ethics and Humanities, and the Ethox Centre, at the University of Oxford. In the recent project press release he said: “Recent global health emergencies, notably the Ebola and Zika outbreaks, have highlighted how uncertainties about what is ethically acceptable during emergencies can impede progress of potentially valuable research, or alternatively contribute to the risks of unethical practice passing undetected. Such a situation can mean that frontline workers are left to make their own decisions, unsupported, about what is ethically acceptable, often in very difficult circumstances…there is still an urgent need for comprehensive ethical analysis to support an approach to future research that both recognises the complex relationships between research and other essential services in global health emergencies, and supports cooperation between interested parties.”

The new project is expected to get underway in early 2018 and with publication due in 2019.