Research ethics review is a critical aspect of the research governance framework for human subjects research. This usually requires that research protocols be submitted to a research ethics committee for review and approval. This has led to very rapid developments in the domain of research ethics, as RECs proliferate all over the globe in rhyme with the explosion in human subjects research. The work of RECs has increasingly become elaborate, complex, and in many cases urgent, necessitating supporting rules and procedures (...) of operation. Guidelines for elaborating standard operating procedures for the functioning of RECs have also been proposed. The SOPs of well-placed and well-resourced RECs have tended to pay much attention to details, resulting, as a consequence, in generally long, elaborate, intricate and complex SOPs; a model that can hardly be replicated by other committees, equally under ethics review pressures, but working under much more constraining conditions in resource-destitute environments. In this paper, we looked at the content and length of SOPs from African RECs and compared them to the World Health Organization ’s guidelines as the gold standard. We also looked at the SOPs from the Ethics Review and Consultancy Committee of the Cameroon Bioethics Initiative that we elaborated in a simplified way in 2013, and compared them to the WHO’s guidelines and to the other SOPs. Sixteen SOPs from 14 African countries were collected from various sources. Their average length was of 30 pages. By comparison to the guidance of the WHO, only six of them were found acceptable with more than 70 % of the criteria from the gold standard that were fully described. Among those six, two of them were very long and detailed, while the four remaining SOPs ranged from 16 to 24 pages. The ERCC SOPs are seven pages long but maintain all that is of essence for the rigorous, efficient and timely review of protocols. We are convinced that, because of their brevity, simplicity, clarity and user-friendliness, the ERCC SOPs recommend themselves as a model template to, at least, committees similarly situated and/or circumstanced as the ERCC of the Cameroon Bioethics Initiative is. In fact, brevity, clarity, simplicity and user-friendliness are recognized values. Whatever is brief and clear is better than what is not and saves time. What is simple and user-friendly is better than what is not even though the two have the same aims because it saves both time and mental energy. And if this be true in general, it is even truer of the context and its peculiar constraints that we are addressing. (shrink)
BackgroundThe rise of genomic studies in Africa – not least due to projects funded under H3Africa – is associated with the development of a small number of biorepositories across Africa. For the ultimate success of these biorepositories, the creation of cell lines including those from selected H3Africa samples would be beneficial. In this paper, we map ethical challenges in the creation of cell lines.DiscussionThe first challenge we identified relates to the moral status of cells living in culture. There is no (...) doubt that cells in culture are alive, and the question is how this characteristic is relevant to ethical decision-making. The second challenge relates to the fact that cells in culture are a source of cell products and mitochondrial DNA. In combination with other technologies, cells in culture could also be used to grow human tissue. Whilst on the one hand, this feature increases the potential utility of the sample and promotes science, on the other it also enables further scientific work that may not have been specifically consented to or approved. The third challenge relates to ownership over samples, particularly in cases where cell lines are created by a biobank, and in a different country than where samples were collected. Relevant questions here concern the export of samples, approval of secondary use and the acceptability of commercialisation. A fourth challenge relates to perceptions of blood and bodily integrity, which may be particularly relevant for African research participants from certain cultures or backgrounds. Finally, we discuss challenges around informed consent and ethical review.SummaryIn this paper, we sought to map the myriad of ethical challenges that need to be considered prior to making cell line creation a reality in the H3Africa project. Considering the relative novelty of this practice in Africa, such challenges will need to be considered, discussed and potentially be resolved before cell line creation in Africa becomes financially feasible and sustainable. We suggest that discussions need to be undertaken between stakeholders internationally, considering the international character of the H3Africa project. We also map out avenues for empirical research. (shrink)
Although the world has experienced remarkable progress in health care since the last half of the 20th century, global health inequalities still persist. In some poor countries life expectancy is between 37-40 years lower than in rich countries; furthermore, maternal and infant mortality is high and there is lack of access to basic preventive and life-saving medicines, as well a high prevalence of neglected diseases, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria. Moreover, globalization has made the world more connected than before such that (...) health challenges today are no longer limited within national or regional boundaries, making all persons equally vulnerable. Because of this, diseases in the most affluent countries are closely connected with diseases in the poorest countries. In this paper, we argue that, because of global health inequalities, in a situation of equal vulnerability, there is need for global solidarity not only as a means of reducing health inequalities, but also as a way of putting up a united force against global health challenges. We argue for an African approach to solidarity in which the humanity of a person is not determined by his/her being human or rational capacity, but by his/her capacity to live a virtuous life. According to this view of solidarity, because no one is self-sufficient, no individual can survive alone. If we are to collectively flourish in a world where no individual, nation or region has all the health resources or protection needed for survival, we must engage in solidarity where we remain compassionate and available to one another at all times. (shrink)
The introduction of genomics and biobanking methodologies to the African research context has also introduced novel ways of doing science, based on values of sharing and reuse of data and samples. This shift raises ethical challenges that need to be considered when research is reviewed by ethics committees, relating for instance to broad consent, the feedback of individual genetic findings, and regulation of secondary sample access and use. Yet existing ethics guidelines and regulations in Africa do not successfully regulate research (...) based on sharing, causing confusion about what is allowed, where and when. In order to understand better the ethics regulatory landscape around genomic research and biobanking, we conducted a comprehensive analysis of existing ethics guidelines, policies and other similar sources. We sourced 30 ethics regulatory documents from 22 African countries. We used software that assists with qualitative data analysis to conduct a thematic analysis of these documents. Surprisingly considering how contentious broad consent is in Africa, we found that most countries allow the use of this consent model, with its use banned in only three of the countries we investigated. In a likely response to fears about exploitation, the export of samples outside of the continent is strictly regulated, sometimes in conjunction with regulations around international collaboration. We also found that whilst an essential and critical component of ensuring ethical best practice in genomics research relates to the governance framework that accompanies sample and data sharing, this was most sparingly covered in the guidelines. There is a need for ethics guidelines in African countries to be adapted to the changing science policy landscape, which increasingly supports principles of openness, storage, sharing and secondary use. Current guidelines are not pertinent to the ethical challenges that such a new orientation raises, and therefore fail to provide accurate guidance to ethics committees and researchers. (shrink)
Many ethical concerns surrounding human genetics studies remain unresolved. We report here the situation in Cameroon.Objectives: To describe the profile of human genetic studies that used Cameroonian DNA samples, with specific focus on i) the research centres that were involved, ii) authorship, iii) population studied, iv) research topics and v) ethics disclosure, with the aim of raising ethical issues that emerged from these studies.Method: Bibliometric Studies; we conducted a PubMed-based systematic review of all the studies on human genetics that used (...) Cameroonian DNA samples from 1989 to 2009.Results and Discussion: Fifty articles were identified, involving predominantly research centres from Europe (64%) and America (32%). Only 7 (14%) Cameroonian institutions and 14 (28%) Cameroonian authors were associated with these publications.At least 52% of publications were devoted to population genetics (variation/migration patterns) amongst 30 Cameroonian ethnic groups. Very few studies concerned public health related genetic issues and only 5 (10%) references were found for hemoglobinopathies like sickle cell anaemia. Almost all DNA samples are ‘banked’ outside of the African continent.Capacity building, rights to the genetic information and benefits to the individuals, communities and populations who contribute to these studies are addressed.Conclusions: 1) Our data suggests the need for a wider debate towards building capacity and addressing ethical issues related to human genomic research in sub-Saharan Africa and specifically in Cameroon; 2) National ethical guidelines and regulations concerning the collection, use and storage of human DNA are urgently needed in Cameroon. (shrink)
The rise of genomic studies in Africa – not least due to projects funded under H3Africa – is associated with the development of a small number of biorepositories across Africa. For the ultimate success of these biorepositories, the creation of cell lines including those from selected H3Africa samples would be beneficial. In this paper, we map ethical challenges in the creation of cell lines.
Universities in Cameroon are playing an active part in HIV/AIDS research and much of this research is carried out by students, usually for the purpose of a dissertation/thesis. Student theses/dissertations present research findings in a much more comprehensive manner and have been described as the stepping-stone of a budding scientist’s potential in becoming an independent researcher. It is therefore important to verify how students handle issues of research ethics.
Many of our questions about religion, says renowned anthropologist Pascal Boyer, are no longer mysteries. We are beginning to know how to answer questions such as "Why do people have religion?" Using findings from anthropology, cognitive science, linguistics, and evolutionary biology, Religion Explained shows how this aspect of human consciousness is increasingly admissible to coherent, naturalistic explanation. This brilliant and controversial book gives readers the first scientific explanation for what religious feeling is really about, what it consists of, and (...) where it comes from. (shrink)
This text introduces students, scholars, and interested educated readers to the issues of human memory broadly considered, encompassing both individual memory, collective remembering by societies, and the construction of history. The book is organised around several major questions: How do memories construct our past? How do we build shared collective memories? How does memory shape history? This volume presents a special perspective, emphasising the role of memory processes in the construction of self-identity, of shared cultural norms and concepts, and of (...) historical awareness. Although the results are fairly new and the techniques suitably modern, the vision itself is of course related to the work of such precursors as Frederic Bartlett and Aleksandr Luria, who in very different ways represent the starting point of a serious psychology of human culture. (shrink)
This study of contemporary art and culture brings together Boyers's sharply focused essays on writers, filmmakers, painters, and critics, first published in the _TLS_, _The American Scholar_, _Granta_, _The_ _American Poetry Review, and Salmagundi. The essays respond to the diversity of "events" that make up our cultural life, and take as their central theme what Boyers calls "object loss" in the art and writing of some prominent contemporaries. The term designates a radical incapacity to think clearly about the objects—actual or (...) imagined—that give a work point or focus. He argues that this incapacity has produced various kinds of irrelevance and dishonesty, not so much in the art of our day as in the various critical theories and response patterns which are dominant among us._ Dwelling on such figures as Jean-Luc Godard, Mario Vargas Llosa, Marcel Duchamp, John Ashbery, and William Styron, Boyers frequently casts his reflections as responses to theories that have gained—especially among contemporary literary intellectuals—an indisputable currency. His essays constitute a negative aesthetic, a "definition by recoil" of postmodernist art and the ideology that promotes or defends it. (shrink)
69 Thompson-Schill, S.L. _et al. _(1997) Role of left inferior prefrontal cortex 59 Buckner, R.L. _et al. _(1996) Functional anatomic studies of memory in retrieval of semantic knowledge: a re-evaluation _Proc. Natl. Acad._ retrieval for auditory words and pictures _J. Neurosci. _16, 6219–6235 _Sci. U. S. A. _94, 14792–14797 60 Buckner, R.L. _et al. _(1995) Functional anatomical studies of explicit and 70 Baddeley, A. (1992) Working memory: the interface between memory implicit memory retrieval tasks _J. Neurosci. _15, 12–29 and cognition (...) _J. Cogn. Neurosci. _4, 281–288 61 Bäckman, L. _et al. _(1997) Brain activation in young and older adults 71 Petrides, M. (1994) Frontal lobes and behavior _Curr. Opin. Neurobiol._ during implicit and explicit retrieval _J. Cogn. Neurosci. _9, 378–391. (shrink)
Contrairement à Roland Barthes qui en avait analysé le « discours », Odile Blanc s'intéresse aux images de mode, tout en trouvant chez l'auteur du Système de la mode (1967) une inspiration. Son corpus est celui des miniatures ornant les ouvrages des bibliothèques princières au temps de Charles VI (1380-1422). On en apprécie l'intérêt grâce à de splendides reproductions en couleur. Pour l'essentiel, ces images révèlent surtout les codes vestimentaires du milieu curial. Malgré leurs limi..
Cet essai propose les gandes lignes d’une interprétation générale du système kantien. Il se présente comme de nature conjectural et ouvert à la discussion critique, aux « problèmes et controverses ». L’interprétation du kantisme comme étant purement et simplement une critique de la métaphysique spéculative est discutée et relativisée. On essaye de montrer que le projet kantien est bien de sauver et de refonder la métaphysique comme « rempart » de la religion. Le temps n’est que l’une des formes de (...) l’intuition humaine et non une condition de l’existence de tout étant. Le fondement de l’être est « hors du temps ». Inaccessible par la voie théorique, le suprasensible est accessible par la voie pratique. La thèse de l’idéalisme formel, la « réfutation » de l’idéalisme , la thèse de la finitude humaine, la conception du Souverain Bien, la structure des « trois questions », la notion d’autonomie, la doctrine de la vertu, la question de l’intersubjectivité, celle de la vérité, ainsi que certains moments de la politique kantienne sont relus à la lumière de cette hypothèse. (shrink)
This paper explores the potential of a contextual approach to multicultural conflict. It reconstructs two cases that were hotly debated in the Netherlands—Islamic headscarves for police officers and for court officers—and asks whether a contextual approach reaches compromises and thus promotes social stability more easily than a deductive approach. The argument is that a deductive approach accepts standing interpretations of normative principles, whereas a contextual approach reinterprets these principles in the light of the circumstances and that, whether or not it (...) promotes social stability, a contextual approach makes us attend to otherwise neglected perspectives and thus yields greater normative insights. (shrink)
Concerns related to the future of work has precipitated various studies aimed at ensuring that the labour market is a place where people can earn a living, work in dignity, and flourish as human beings. Studies on labour market inequalities and how macroeconomic policies can be used to address such inequalities are also plentiful. What macroeconomic studies have often failed to do, however, is highlight the differences between individuals in the labour market. This is important, especially in an economy with (...) large inequalities, such as South Africa. These inequalities are further entrenched given that wage employment is the primary mode of income generation for the majority of households in South Africa. The purpose of this study was to investigate changes in quality of work at the microeconomic level in relation to changes in the macroeconomy, using a decent work index built from secondary labour force survey data. The data show that changes in the macroeconomic policy environment coincide with differential outcomes for different groups of workers in the labour market, with women benefitting in terms of quality of work during times in which the government undertakes an expansionary fiscal approach, although only in occupation groups which are male-dominated. The study also finds, however, that in some occupation groups, quality of work does not change in relation to shifts in the macroeconomy. The study highlights the need for microeconomic analyses to inform macroeconomic policies to ensure that expected outcomes are distributed in the intended way. (shrink)
La noción de interpretación desarrollada en el racionalismo crítico de Karl R. Popper muestra atributos específicos que la distinguen de modo sustancial de la interpretación constitutiva de la experiencia que tanto N. R. Hanson como Th. Kuhn defienden en sus respectivas propuestas. Se muestra que la interpretación del modelo popperiano queda atrapada en una epistemología de corte empirista que la separa de modo radical de toda hermenéutica filosófica. The notion of interpretation developed in the critical rationalism of Karl R. Popper (...) displays specific attributes that substantially distinguish it from the constituent interpretation of experience defended in both N. R. Hanson and T. Kuhn proposals. The article shows that the interpretation of Popper's model is trapped in an empiricist epistemology that radically separates it from all hermeneutic philosophy. (shrink)
El artículo presenta un análisis comparativo de los últimos parágrafos de la Vida de Pirrón de Diógenes Laercio y de un capítulo del Adversus ethicos de Sexto Empírico. Los resultados de este análisis harán plausible la hipótesis de una fuente común, reproducida parcialmente en DL, pero elaborada y refinada en Sexto. En ambos textos son centrales las nociones de fin y de elección. Se presentan las diferencias entre ambos textos entorno a la primera, y las tensiones internas comunes que implica (...) el tratamiento de la segunda. The article provides a comparative analysis of the final paragraphs of Diogenes Laertius' Life of Pyrrho and a chapter from the Adversus ethicos by Sextus Empiricus. The results of the analysis make plausible the hypothesis regarding a common source, partially reproduced in DL, but elaborated on and refined in Sextus. The notions of end and choice are central in both texts. The paper presents the differences between the texts regarding the former and the common internal tensions entailed by treatment of the latter. (shrink)
Postmortem reproduction refers to normally unnatural situations that are made possible by modern medical technology. It's a definition that applies to a situation in which one parent of an offspring is dead at the time of conception of the offspring or at the time of birth of the offspring. It is a situation which raises complex and multifactorial dilemma as with most issues that concern decisions over human life; accordingly, this discussion of its ethical ramifications is not intended to be (...) exhaustive, but illustrative. (shrink)
This paper examines how, building on earlier filmic representations such as Ousmane Sembene’s La Noire de… and Abderrahmane Sissako’s Bamako, Khady Sylla’s Le Monologue de la muette traces a continuum of women’s exploitation, from slavery to colonization to globalization.
Les normes somptuaires édictées dans les communes de Bologne, Venise, Pérouse, Sienne font apparaître l’usage aux XIIIe-XVe siècles de banquets réservés aux femmes, particulièrement à l’occasion des fiançailles et des noces. Ces traces confirment d’autres observations sur les solidarités féminines dans ces sociétés mais ne sont guère relayées par les textes littéraires, dont les auteurs sont pratiquement toujours des hommes ; elles suggèrent cependant de poursuivre l’enquête. The sumptuary laws enacted by the City-states of Bologna, Venice, Perugia, Siena bring to (...) light the fact that the banquets reserved to women were not uncommon practice between the XIIIth and the XVth century, particularly on the occasion of engagements or weddings. Such traces confirm other observations concerning solidarity among women in those urban societies, though they are not mentioned in literary texts (authors being practically always men) ; yet encourage scholars to go on investigating. (shrink)