Culture and genetic screening in Africa

Developing World Bioethics 9 (3):128-137 (2009)
Africa is a continent in transition amidst a revival of cultural practices. Over previous years the continent was robbed of the benefits of medical advances by unfounded cultural practices surrounding its cultural heritage. In a fast moving field like genetic screening, discussions of social and policy aspects frequently need to take place at an early stage to avoid the dilemma encountered by Western medicine. This paper, examines the potential challenges to genetic screening in Africa. It discusses how cultural practices may affect genetic screening. It views genomics science as a culture which is trying to diffuse into another one. It argues that understanding the existing culture will help the diffusion process. The paper emphasizes the importance of genetic screening for Africa, by assessing the current level of burden of diseases in the continent and shows its role in reducing disease prevalence. The paper identifies and discusses the cultural challenges that are likely to confront genetic screening on the continent, such as the worldview, rituals and taboos, polygyny, culture of son preference and so on. It also discusses cultural practices that may promote the science such as inheritance practices, spouse selection practices and naming patterns. Factors driving the cultural challenges are identified and discussed, such as socialization process, patriarchy, gender, belief system and so on. Finally, the paper discusses the way forward and highlights the ethical considerations of doing genetic screening on the continent. However, the paper also recognizes that African culture is not monolithic and therefore makes a case for exceptions.
Keywords Africa  developing world bioethics  research ethics  ethics  genetics  informed consent  bioethics
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1111/j.1471-8847.2009.00259.x
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
Edit this record
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Mark as duplicate
Request removal from index
Revision history
Download options
Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 30,793
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Predictive Genetic Testing for Conditions That Present in Childhood.Lainie Friedman Ross - 2002 - Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal 12 (3):225-244.
Breast Cancer Genetic Screening and Critical Bioethics' Gaze.Lisa S. Parker - 1995 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 20 (3):313-337.
What's Special About Molecular Genetic Diagnostics?Kurt Bayertz - 1998 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 23 (3):247 – 254.
Toward a Realistic Assessment of PKU Screening.Diane B. Paul - 1994 - PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1994:322 - 328.
The Ethics of Genetic Screening in the Workplace.Joseph Kupfer - 1993 - Business Ethics Quarterly 3 (1):17-25.
Added to PP index

Total downloads
18 ( #300,734 of 2,214,713 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #409,169 of 2,214,713 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Monthly downloads
My notes
Sign in to use this feature