Many commentators call for a more ethical approach to planning for influenza pandemics. In the developed world, some pandemic preparedness plans have already been examined from an ethical viewpoint. This paper assesses the attention given to ethics issues by the Ghana National Integrated Strategic Plan for Pandemic Influenza.
Research misconduct remains an important problem in health research despite decades of local, national, regional, and international efforts to eliminate it. The ultimate goal of every health research project, irrespective of setting, is to produce trustworthy findings to address local as well as global health issues. To be able to lead or participate meaningfully in international research collaborations, individual and institutional capacities for research integrity are paramount. Accordingly, this paper concerns itself not only with individuals’ research skills but also with (...) institutional and national policies and governance. Such policies and governance provide an ethical scaffold for the production of knowledge and structure incentives. This paper’s operational definition of research therefore draws from Institute of Medicine’s articulation of health research as an inquiry that aims to produce knowledge about the structure, processes, or effects of personal health services; and from an existing health systems framework. The paper reviews the research regulatory environment and the ethics apparatus in Ghana, and describes a project jointly undertaken by Ghanaian researchers in collaboration with New York University to assess the perceived adequacy of current institutional practices, opportunities, and incentives for promoting RI. (shrink)
Child assent is recommended in addition to parental consent when enrolling children in clinical research; however, appreciation and relevance ascribed to these concepts vary in different contexts, and information on attitudes towards storage of biological samples for future research is limited, especially in developing countries. We assessed caregivers’ understanding and appreciation of consent and assent procedures, and their attitudes towards use of stored blood samples for future research prior to enrolling a child in clinical research. A total of 17 in-depth (...) interviews were conducted with primary caregivers of children at enrolment or on the immediate follow-up date. All caregivers recalled significant amount information from the study information sheet and were able to appropriately link such information to the consent process. While all participants confirmed information received prior to blood sampling as adequate, a few noted that the purpose was not sufficiently well communicated. Caregivers felt children were cognitively vulnerable, and prone to decisions that were not necessarily in their best interest. Nearly all caregivers felt it was their right and responsibility to overrule objections from their ward’s regarding enrolment into specific study or receipt of a therapeutic procedure. There were no objections or concerns regarding use of stored biological samples for future research purposes. There is thus, a need to improve understanding of caregivers on the information provided during the informed consent process. Context-specific studies on the age of assent in specific populations are needed. (shrink)
Healthcare rationing during pandemics has been widely discussed in global bioethics literature. However, existing scenarios and analyses have focused on high income countries, except for very few disease areas such as HIV treatment where some analyses related to African countries exist. We argue that the lack of scholastic discourse, and by extension, professional and democratic engagement on the subject constitute an unacceptable ethical omission. Not only have African governments failed to develop robust ethical plans for pandemics, ethicists in this region (...) have been unable to ignite public discourse on rationing. Therefore, we aim to initiate a debate on how rationing health and social goods could be done ethically in Ghana during the current and future pandemics. The paper discusses and critiques some moral considerations for rationing and their relevance in the Ghanaian context. This contribution may facilitate ethical decision-making during the current pandemic - in Ghana and other African settings where hardly any rationing guidelines exist. (shrink)