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Ethics and Governance Week provides students with an introduction to important topics, frameworks, and approaches in global health ethics.

Dr Caesar Atuire introduces Ethics and Governance Week 2023 to IHTM students

The teaching supports the development of skills to identify, analyse and propose responses to ethics and governance issues in public health programming (PHP) and global health research (GHR). The course also asks students to draw on their own expertise and experience in their professional lives.

The Ethics lead for IHTM is Caesar Atuire who is in his second year of lecturing on the MSc. Caesar is a philosopher and health ethicist from Ghana, and an Associate Professor of Applied Philosophy at the Department of Philosophy and Classics at the University of Ghana. He is also an affiliate Instructor at the University of Washington’s Department of Bioethics and Humanities. Caesar is currently leading a team from across the globe on a Wellcome Discovery Award to explore conceptualizations of solidarity and to design a solidarity index for ranking global health funders.

Teachers for Ethics and Governance Week are drawn from faculty in the Oxford Centre for Global Health Research and the Ethox Centre at Oxford University, affiliated Global Health Research Programmes in Kenya, Thailand, and Vietnam, the WHO, and other leading global health institutions. Michael Parker, Professor of Bioethics at the University of Oxford, introduced this year's Ethics and Governance week alongside Caesar Atuire. Michael leads a programme of cross-disciplinary research focused on the identification and analysis of ethical problems presented by advances in genomics, data science, and global health. 

Speaking ahead of the week’s lectures Michael said,

Teaching on the ethics and governance module with Caesar Atuire is one of the highlights of my year. Our aim in the session is to help students to reflect on their own experiences of the importance of ethics in global health practice and to provide them with the tools for a structured and sensitive approach to identifying, analysing, and developing solutions for practical ethical problems arising in global health research and public health practice in LMICs.

In addition to the core teaching, students work in small groups to prepare to debate a contentious ethical issue. The week culminates in group presentations and debates before the class and faculty.

Debate Topics:

  • This house believes that people who fall ill due to risky or illegal behaviour should not be eligible for free healthcare for conditions directly caused by their behaviour.
  • This house believes that free health checks in exchange for participation in clinical trials in low-income settings is unethical.
  • This house believes that it is unethical to make vaccination mandatory for healthcare workers during pandemics like Covid-19.
  • This house believes that Baum framework is an adequate baseline for ethical considerations in public health decision making.
  • This house would remove the tax on menstrual hygiene products (such as sanitary pads) in LMICs.