Introduction to ethical issues in public health with

Report
EMPHNET Meeting (Sharm Elsheikh, Dec. 5, 2011)
Ghaiath M. A. Hussein
Assistant Professor of Bioethics
Faulty of medicine, King Fahad Medical City
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Email: [email protected]
Phone: 00966566511653
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Public health (vs. clinical care)
What’s Ethics? What is Public Health Ethics
(PHE)?
Sources of ethical concern in public health
practice and research
Why are pandemics ethically unique?
Levels of pandemic effects and their ethical
implications
Guiding ethical principles
How to deal with ethical tensions in PH?
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Definitions:
 “Public health is what we, as a society, do collectively to assure the
conditions for people to be healthy.” (IOM, 1988);
 “the process of mobilizing and engaging local, regional, national and
international resources to assure the conditions in which people can be
healthy” (Oxford Textbook of public health, 2004)
 "Public health is primarily concerned with the health of the entire
population“ (Childress et al.)
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Scope: health promotion and disease prevention throughout
society)
Fields: Policy; Practice; and Research
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Disease prevention
Health promotion
Epidemiological studies
Biostatistics
Occupational health
Environmental health
Determinants of health
WSH
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Morality & Ethics:
 Morality: the beliefs and standards of good and
bad, right and wrong, that people actually do and
should follow in a society, while ethics is defined
as the systematic study of morality.
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Metaethics: tries to clarify the rational
standards and methods for the study of
ethics
Normative ethics: develops ethical
principles, rules, and ideals that spell out
standards of good and bad, right and wrong.
Bioethics: is normative ethics applied to decisionmaking and public policy in the domains of biology,
health care and research.
 Domains:
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 Clinical/medical ethics
 Research ethics
 Public health ethics
 Environmental ethics
 Resource allocation ethics
 Organizational ethics, etc.
• Public Health Ethics (PHE): the identification, analysis, and
resolution of ethical problems arising in public health practice
and research
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Within its efforts to control the spread of
Pandemic Influenza A H1N1 during the Hajj
season (2010), the Saudi government was
able to provide a total of 2,500,000 doses of
the newly produced vaccine.
The pilgrims are estimated to be 3,500,000;
the working staff who are in contact with
pilgrims (entries, security & health) are about
120,000 persons
Who should have the vaccine? Who’s first?
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Public vs. individual rights
Scarcity of resources
Socio-political factors:
 Poverty, illiteracy , minorities, vulnerability
 Abuse of power (public engagement)
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Socio-cultural factors:
 Local beliefs vs. “international guidelines”
 Role of families and community leaders
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Urgency to contain public health threats
Inequalities (national and international)
Disproportional
burden
COI (®Tamiflu,
vaccine)
Resource
allocation
Consent
Public
engagement
Sub-optimal
products
Surveillance
(research?)
Inequalities
Trials (review)
Loss of
property
&work
hours
Access
to care
Restricted
movement
Confiden
tiality
Professiona
l duty
Philosophical
• Deontological
• Utilitarian (act &
rule)
• Rights-based
• Virtue
• Casuistry
• Social-contract
• Principlism
Religious
• Islamic ethics &
jurisprudence
(Purposes of Law
‘Sharia’)
• Christian ethics
Guiding Principles
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Utility
Efficiency
Liberty
Transparency
Participation
Review and
revisability
Effectiveness
Fairness
Reciprocity
Solidarity
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Deontology and principilism:
 Deontology is duty-based, people should act so as to fulfill their
duties to others; acts should always follow a set of maxims (e.g.
do not lie); and less concerned with the act’s consequences.
 Principilism is one way of approaching professional deontology
Examples:
 Hippocrates’ oath (“First, do no harm” or “Primum non nocere”)
 Belmont Report, produced in 1978 (three principles)
 Beauchamp and Childress in 2001 (four principles—beneficence, non-
maleficence, respect for persons, and justice)
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Rights-based ethics: involves a larger number of principles and is
addressed more to the actions of institutions and governments, e.g.
Universal Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights, (UNESCO) in
October 2005. It provides more binding legal rights
Consequentialism (utilitarianism)
 the right action is that which produces the
greatest sum of pleasure in the relevant
population,
• Act utilitarianism: a person should act in the way
that produces the best outcome;
 Rule utilitarianism: looks at the consequences of
general rules instead of the consequences of
individual acts
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Utility: acting so as to produce the greatest good.
Efficiency: calls for minimizing the resources needed to
produce a particular result or maximizing the result that
can be produced from a particular set of resources.
 Liberty: one should impose the least burden on
personal self-determination that is necessary to achieve
a legitimate goal
 Fairness: “treating like cases alike”
 Reciprocity: individuals (professionals) accept of the
risk in executing their duties would engender reciprocal
duties on the part of the community to them
 Proportionality: actions taken proportional to need
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If we can not agree on what’s fair distribution, let’s at least
agree on a procedural justice (fair process).
 “Fair process” (Norman Daniels’ A4R) suggests a set of principles
that need to be followed in decision making:
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 Transparency/publicity: information about the processes and
bases of decisions should be made available to the affected
population
 Participation: the stakeholders should be involved in the
processes of formulating the objectives and adopting the policies.
 Effectiveness/Relevance: states that there must be ways to
translate the other principles into practice relevant to meeting
population health needs fairly
 Appeal: Stakeholders should have a way to appeal policies after
they have been adopted, and processes should be in place that
allow policies and plans to be reviewed and revised.
Fast track
review
Urgent
Prior approval
Research
Not urgent
Research or
‘practice’?
Practice
Ethics
considered?
RECs
Implement
policy
Add ethical
considerations
Source of tension
Suggested ethical/practical
approach
Differences in
-Local (national) deliberation
guiding
-Regional meetings
references/principles -Unifying/Uniforming int’l ethical guidance
to include local sources
Scarcity of resources -Develop a fair decision-making process
-Prior priority setting standards & guidance
Urgency
-Prior planning
-‘Ethical drills’
-‘Fast track’ review mechanism
-On-call ethicist
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Proactive ethical preparedness, learning from past
experiences (SARS, H5N1, and H1N1)
Involvement of ethics in the PH policy development
process
Active public engagement
Develop an ethics comprehensive and flexible
consultation and review mechanism
International (UN) agencies should advocate for the
least powerful nations (Fair international governance)
Though agreeing on the guiding principles to make a
fair decision is difficult; it is possible to agree on a fair
decision making process
Make sure the voice of the voiceless is heard!
Questions & Discussion
Feel free to contact:
Ghaiath Hussein
Assistant Professor of Bioethics
Faulty of medicine, King Fahad
Medical City
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Email:
[email protected]
Phone: 00966566511653
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Principles of the Ethical Practice of Public Health; Public Health
Leadership Society (2002)
Ethics and Public Health: Model Curriculum. Ed. Bruce Jennings
et al. (2003)
Childress JF, Faden RR, Gaare RD, Gostin LO, Kahn J, Bonnie RJ,
Kass NE, Mastroianni AC, Moreno JD, Nieburg P: Public health
ethics: mapping the terrain. J Law Med Ethics 2002, 30:170-8.
Public health: disconnections between policy, practice and
research. Jansen et al. Health Research Policy and Systems 2010,
8:37
Ethical issues in epidemiologic research and public health
practice. Steven S Coughlin. Emerging Themes in Epidemiology
2006, 3:16
Accountability for reasonableness. Norman Daniels, BMJ
2000;321:1300-1301

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