27 Jul 2021
Global health emergencies aren’t restricted by language. As we see with the current COVID-19 pandemic, the virus isn’t limited to one country or continent – it affects everyone.
Earlier this year, we published the findings of our two-year inquiry into conducting ethical research in global health emergencies. We couldn’t have envisaged that upon the publication of the inquiry’s report and accompanying materials, we would be on the cusp of a global pandemic. The timeliness demonstrates the importance of our work on an international scale. Many of the issues we raised have emerged as central in the response worldwide to COVID-19 – from the importance of meaningful engagement with those directly affected by emergencies to ensure their voices are heard in research, to the crucial role played by robust health and research systems as part of ‘emergency preparedness’.
That being said, there’s only limited point in publishing a report and materials on global health emergencies in one language. Ideally, we want to make our work accessible to a huge part of the world, including many low- and middle-income countries that face particularly extreme challenges in responding to COVID-19.
The main report, when published, was accompanied by a short version and a one-page overview. Thanks to our colleagues, partners, and collaborators, we have been able to publish the short guide and overview in Chinese, Farsi, French, Portuguese, and Spanish, and the overview in Arabic. We hope to continue translating our report into other languages, so that we can reach even more people. All of our translations are available on our website.
The translations of our short guide wouldn’t have been possible without the help of our working group members. Emily Chan and colleagues at the Collaborating Centre for Oxford University and CUHK for Disaster and Medical Humanitarian Response (CCOUC) produced a Chinese translation of the short report and a PowerPoint. Beatriz da Costa Thomé helped us find a Portuguese and Spanish translator and advised on the Portuguese translation. Karl Blanchet and Philippe Guérin reviewed our French short report. We are very grateful to them.
We would also like to thank colleagues at The Iran University of Medical Sciences (IUMS) Department of Medical Ethics, who sent through Farsi translations of our one-page overview and short report.
On Friday 5 June, together with The Global Health Network, we launched a free online course, Research in global health emergencies: ethical issues, based on our report. It’s available in English at the moment, but within days of its launch we had an offer to help with a Spanish translation, which is now underway.
We hope to continue our work in making our material accessible to as many people around the world as possible. If you’re interested in helping with translations, please contact me.