Global health ethics

Ethics past news and events

Global Health Ethics Team launches the Ethics Platform, May 2018

The Global Health Ethics Team launches the Ethics Platform for the integration of ethics during an infectious disease outbreak. This is a platform meant for everyone – whether they are a public health professional or a front line responder or a researcher. Everyone is likely to encounter situations in which they face moral dilemmas that force them to make difficult choices. This platform provides the principles governing such decision-making, how to employ them, and how can one integrate ethics in all aspects of the outbreak response. It includes several ethics resources that can be used in the day-to-day work of anyone involved in outbreak response.

12th Global Summit, 22-24 March 2018, Dakar, Senegal

The Steering Committee welcomed all National Ethics/Bioethics Committees (NECs) to the 12th Global Summit from 22-24 March 2018. The 71 participants in the 12th Global Summit of National Ethics/Bioethics Committees agreed on a joint “Call for Action”. WHO welcomes this statement, which can be found here:

Scoping meetings on the Ethics of Vector-Borne Diseases and Ageing, 23 - 24 February 2017

A scoping meeting laid the groundwork for a guidance document on ethical issues in vector-borne diseases. On 18 March, group of experts will explore the ethics of Ageing. The goal was to start the development of an ethical framework that will best respond to the challenges of ageing and health, address ageism, strengthen the rights-based agenda for improving the health of the ageing population, and support policy makers in developing and implementing strategies for healthy ageing.

WHO Collaborating Centres, 13 June 2016

Professor Michael Selgelid is the new Director of the Global Network of WHO Collaborating Centres for Bioethics. He took over from Ron Bayer, he was elected president for the upcoming two years at the network`s meeting in Edinburgh, Scotland on 13 June 2016.
Michael Selgelid is Director of the Centre for Human Bioethics and the WHO Collaborating Centre for Bioethics at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the International Association of Bioethics and serves on the Ethics Review Board of Médecins Sans Frontières. His main research focus is public health ethics—with emphasis on ethical issues associated with infectious diseases.

11th Global Summit, 16-18 March 2016, Berlin, Germany

The 11th biennial forum for national bioethics committees held in Berlin, Germany from 16-18 March 2016 was attended by 125 participants and brought together representatives of National Ethics Committees of 83 countries. The Summit theme, Global Health, Global Ethics, Global Justice, set the stage for plenary discussions on emerging and converging technologies; epidemics and outbreaks - introducing WHO draft guidelines; bioethical policies and bioethical law; and raising social awareness on bioethical issues including education, media and communications. The participants of the 11th Summit warmly received and accepted the offer from Senegal to host the 12th Global Summit in Dakar.

Bioethics - Global Health Ethics Seminar

The 6th Global Health Ethics webinar will highlight the lack of surveillance in many situations, discuss an upcoming WHO guidance document, the ethical issues that could arise, and explore how to ethically balance the objective of data collection to serve public health goals with the obligation to protect the privacy of citizens. To hear our expert panel consider these issues through a case study approach, and take part in the discussion.

Ethics support during the Ebola outbreak 2014

As a reaction to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, WHO convened an expert consultation to consider and assess the ethical implications of using unregistered interventions that showed promising results in the laboratory/animal models. The group supported the use of investigational interventions during this outbreak under certain conditions.

Developing guidelines for public health surveillance

In 2014 WHO launched a project to develop WHO Guidelines on Ethical Issues in Public Health Surveillance, and for this purpose established an international Guideline Development Group. Several expert meetings have taken place, and the guidelines are expected to be published in 2016.