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.
Humanitarian Health Ethics Research Group
The humanitarian health ethics (hhe) research group is a multidisciplinary team of researchers and practitioners collaborating together since 2009 with the aim of helping to clarify the ethical issues that are present in humanitarian healthcare practice. Our research benefits humanitarian and military healthcare practitioners, organizational policy makers, aid agencies and recipients of aid.
The Humanitarian Health Ethics Network (HumEthNet) is a multidisciplinary network initiated by the hhe research group in 2012 to foster the global exchange of ideas and to further collaborations with the aim of advancing and generating knowledge to inform ethical practice in humanitarian healthcare.
Here you can find information on HumEthNet and contributions by its members.
Our research contributes to ethical guidance for global humanitarian healthcare interventions by providing evidence and resources for ethical practice in contexts of acute emergency and prolonged development. By elucidating ethical challenges experienced in humanitarian healthcare settings, we aim to provide support for ethical policy and decision-making with insights from host communities, policy analysis and governance of global health research.
Picturing Humanitarian Healthcare is a forum for dialogue, debate, exchange, and reflection concerning the ethical opportunities and challenges of producing images (video, photography, installations, other) in and of humanitarian healthcare crises.
Elysée Nouvet and Lisa Schwartz co-authored a blog post for ALNAP on July 10, 2015 entitled: Is palliative care in humanitarian crises a luxury? If there is one thing the Ebola crisis has generated these past 18 months, it is…
Read Volume 3 | Issue 2 of REFLECTIONS Newsletter.
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.
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.
“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.”
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.