Research in global health emergencies: ethical issues


Published 28/01/2020

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GHE report image

Our Research in global health emergencies report explored how ethical questions associated with health research can affect different countries in different ways. After our report was published, we felt that it was important to work with partners around the world to continue this exploration. Together, we embarked on a programme of international workshops to understand how different aspects of our work could be relevant and useful in varied environments.

We have so far undertaken two workshops, and hope to organise more once COVID-19 restrictions ease.

Map for global health emergencies updated

Blue dots indicate where workshops have taken place, orange dots indicated other forms of engagement.

5 March 2020, Sri Lanka

The first workshop took place in March 2020 in Sri Lanka, with the support of Suranga Dolamulla, Director of Tertiary Healthcare, Ministry of Health, and working group member Sanjoy Bhattacharya. We discussed our recommendations with Additional Secretary Dr Lakshmi Somatunga, senior officials from the country’s Ministry of Health, a WHO country representative, leading medical administrators, public health professionals, and healthcare practitioners. A report of the outcomes of these discussions, which included detailed exploration of the implications for Sri Lanka of the emerging COVID-19 pandemic, is available here.

Katharine meeting

17-18 February 2021, Guinea

The second event took place in Conakry, Guinea. The two one-day workshops involved members of the Guinean National Health Research Ethics Committee, and members of the Guinean Scientific Council for the Response to COVID-19, respectively, who discussed how our ethical compass could assist in the navigation of research ethics issues arising from both COVID-19 and Ebola. The outcomes of the workshops are summarised in a blog by Julian Sheather, a working group member who helped facilitate the event with Elysée Nouvet and Oumou Younoussa Bah-Sow; and in a formal report of the workshops (available in English and French).

Guinea image

Photo provided by the CNERS, Guinea

Future workshops

As COVID-19-related travel restrictions hopefully relax, we will continue to explore the prospect of further workshops in different locations, including in Brazil and the Philippines. We are open to suggestions for workshops in other locations, however, and our project leader would be delighted to discuss new proposals.