Humanitarian Healthcare Ethics is a place to find practical and educational material for humanitarian healthcare workers as well as students and scholars of humanitarian healthcare ethics. The website developed out of empirical research on the ethical dilemmas faced by humanitarian healthcare professionals working in humanitarian crises, disasters or areas of extreme poverty.

Recent Posts

New Case Study Available

Are injections better than pills?
Two months ago, an international medical NGO established a project to support local health clinics and introduce a new malaria treatment program that consists of taking two pills once a day for three days. It would replace the currently available treatment of daily injections. Local health professionals are hesitant about the change in treatment protocol when it is presented to them. The local community, including some local health workers, voice their concern about this treatment; in their opinion injections are better than pills, and more pills are better than a few. Some local health workers are also sceptical that this new treatment regimen will be available once the non-governmental organization leaves the area. What’s more, community health workers have heard that some local health providers have discouraged patients from accepting the new treatment.

An Outbreak of Outbreaks: Humanitarian Epidemiology in West Africa

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Eritrea, northern Nigeria, and most recently Sierra Leone. Meningitis, lead poisoning and Ebola. My narrow experience of the three outbreaks—meningitis, lead poisoning and Ebola—demonstrates how poverty kills. Outbreaks flourish where there is insufficient investment in essential public health services, where poverty is the norm, where global neoliberalism sacrifices community health on the altar of free market capitalism.

HumEthNet Member Dr. Lynda Redwood-Campbell Comments on the Importance of Coordination in Disaster Response Action

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“Coordination – that would be the big lesson of Haiti. Haiti was a disaster upon a disaster,” Canadian doctor Dr. Lynda Redwood-Campbell and HumEthNet member tells Globe and Mail reporter, Affan Chowdhry in a recent article about how past disasters will aid relief efforts in earthquake-ravaged Nepal. “There was a complete lack of coordination with foreign medical teams. Everybody and everybody’s cousin seemed to be there internationally. There was no good overarching coordination.”

The Unwelcome Return of Development Porn

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For 35 years now, there has been a raging debate within international NGO circles around the use of images of starving black children in fundraising materials. Guidelines and codes of conduct adopted in several countries nearly a decade ago affirmed that all future communications by international development NGOs must be based on core values of human dignity, respect and truthfulness. Despite this, recent years have witnessed NGOs that should know better reverting to type, calling up disaster images from the 1970s in a desperate attempt to increase their organizational income, whatever the cost. A battle which we thought had been won many years ago clearly needs to be fought afresh in each new generation.

On the Importance of Human Connection: Fear, Ebola and Security

Ebola preys upon our darkest imaginations—in part because it evokes otherness and its close companion, fear. Fear of Ebola is also linked to its mundaneness. Ebola can be transmitted via the ordinary, daily actions of offering affection or even by brief contact that involves the transmission of bodily fluids. Paradoxically, direct human connection both spreads the disease and is essential to its containment. Perhaps one of the most important lessons of the Ebola crisis is the absolute importance of human connection for security and as part of humanitarian response.

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