Tag: health personnel

Bioethics News

WHO Steps Up Response in Aleppo and Demands That Health Personnel Be Protected

December 14, 2016

(World Health Organization) – Conditions in Aleppo continue to deteriorate as thousands of people flee violence. WHO alongside UN and other partners, is working to provide care in the midst of conflict and to assist internally displaced people (IDPs). The Organization strongly urges all parties to the conflict in Syria to abide by international humanitarian law and protect civilians trapped in the conflict. In particular, WHO demands that all patients and health workers, facilities and vehicles be protected from violence during times of conflict.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.

Bioethics Blogs

Should Doctors Perform “Minor” Forms of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) as a Compromise to Respect Culture?

by Brian D. Earp / (@briandavidearp), with a separate guest post by Robert Darby

A small surgical “nick” to a girl’s clitoris or other purportedly minimalist procedures on the vulvae of young women and girls should be legally permitted, argue two gynecologists this week in the Journal of Medical Ethics. Their proposal is offered as a “compromise” solution to the vexed issue of so-called female genital cutting or mutilation (FGM).

According to the authors, Kavita Shah Arora and Allan J. Jacobs, legally restricting even “minor” forms of non-therapeutic, non-consensual female genital cutting is “culturally insensitive and supremacist and discriminatory towards women.” Discriminatory, apparently, because non-therapeutic, non-consensual male genital cutting (a.k.a. male circumcision) is widely tolerated in Western societies; why shouldn’t women and girls be allowed to participate in analogous cultural rites that are important to members of their own groups?

I take issue with the authors’ proposal. In a commentary published in response to their piece (currently available “online first” along with two other commentaries: see here and here), I argue that to allow supposedly minimalist female genital cutting procedures before an age of consent in Western societies would result in numerous legal, ethical, political, regulatory, medical, and sexual problems, creating a fiasco. So problematic, in my view, is the proposal by Arora and Jacobs, that I have prepared a separate online supplementary appendix to expand upon my published commentary, in which I address each of their specific claims and arguments one by one: see here.

Rather than continuing to tolerate childhood male circumcision, and using this as a benchmark for allowing supposedly “minor” forms of FGM, I argue that we should instead move in the opposite direction.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.

Bioethics Blogs

The Financialization of Ebola by Susan L. Erikson

Original Ebola Virus Image by Frederick A. Murphy/CDC; downloaded November 3, 2015. Modification to image by Lukas Henne, November 3, 2015.

Far away from the frontlines of the Ebola outbreaks in Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Liberia, where people and their caretakers die from the disease, new forms of humanitarian aid and global health financing are being leveraged behind closed doors. In Washington, D.C., London, and Geneva, long-standing government-to-government models of global cooperation and international development assistance, imperfect as they are, are being supplanted by new forms of finance that prioritize profits for private shareholders. Global health futures, it appears, are poised to become more deeply embedded with private instruments of high finance. Some economists argue that these new forms of finance are new models of global cooperation that will benefit millions (e.g., Collier 2013). Some venture- and philanthrocapitalists posit that these new forms are necessary to motivate nation-states and individuals to fix global health problems (e.g., Egerton-Warburton 2015). And while new forms of financing introduce new opportunities, they also introduce new vulnerabilities and risks to global publics.

Market-driven pandemic response financing is currently being promoted by the World Bank as the means for attending to funding shortfalls. In a turn away from redistributive, taxpayer-based donor health aid, financial instruments like the World Bank’s Pandemic Emergency Facility — known more colloquially as “Ebola bonds” — look increasingly likely to finance future global pandemic response. The need to study these financial instruments is urgent: instrument ‘making’ is happening now at the World Bank and mostly out of public view.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.

Bioethics Blogs

Ebola: where is the rock concert benefit?

by Arthur Caplan, PhD and Nira Eyal, D.Phil

Ebola’s toll is rising exponentially. Millions of lives are at risk in West Africa, and panic is starting to take its toll in the rest of the world.

Normally in a crisis like this our best charitable impulses pour forth. Especially among musicians, Hollywood and artists. So why aren’t fund-raising drives taking place? Where are the rock concerts, fashion shows, triathlons we saw for famines and for AIDS? Why the extreme paucity of small private donations?

Some may think donations won’t help. Of course they would.

Donations could buy protective equipment and disinfectant for health personnel and for home care givers. Money can help pay for travel costs for health care workers and for building more isolation beds. Money will also get clean water and better sanitation to the very poor.

Donations could also pay for health workers’ time, so that more workers may be hired and heroic existing workers are not tempted to leave, or to strike for hazard pay.

In fact, donations would facilitate hiring and retention in more ways than one. Take the following—huge—example. The UN currently estimates that more than 120,000 women could die of complications of pregnancy and childbirth in Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone over the coming year unless life-saving emergency obstetric care is urgently provided. A major bottleneck here is that without proper protective gear, even certified midwives are too afraid to provide emergency obstetric care—to any woman.

But with proper education, protective gear and training—that may be another story.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.