Guide Ethics and the Internet in West Africa: Toward an Ethical Model of Integration

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Brunet, Patrick J. See 1 more picture. Buy in bulk and save. Product Description The whole world is currently undergoing a period of profound change brought about by the development of the worldwide information and communications network, the Internet, which affects every sphere of social life.

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Newsletter signup Name Email. Authors Africa World Press, Inc. Connect with us Facebook Twitter. Such lists have the advantage of concretely specifying current activities but lack criteria that definitions normally provide for including or excluding additional activities as a field develops. In , Charles Edward A. Winslow, an influential public health theorist and leader, pioneered a definition of public health that still informs many European and international public health institutions, including WHO Marks et al. Public health is the science and the art of preventing disease, prolonging life, and promoting physical health and efficiency through organized community efforts … and the development of the social machinery which will ensure to every individual in the community a standard of living adequate for the maintenance of health Winslow These two definitions highlight the importance of collective action to address the health needs of populations.

Epidemiologists statistically aggregate the health data of individuals to provide a picture of population health, but populations ultimately originate from communities of individuals who constitute social wholes. Individuals in society stand in complex relations of interdependence, competition, and solidarity that can impact health in ways that transcend the individual.

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A History of Business Ethics

Thus, in addition to aggregating individual medical data, epidemiologists need to measure the impact of various social factors on health. To tackle the complex, often competing health needs of social groups, public health practitioners need to dialogue and partner with their communities. At a higher administrative level, public health officials need to manage intersectoral collaborations, navigate political processes, and formulate public health law. Four distinguishing features of public health practice—the pursuit of the collective good, a focus on prevention, the use of government or collective action, and an emphasis on an outcome-based utilitarian approach—generate most of the ethical challenges public health practitioners typically face Faden and Shebaya People value many things such as friends and family, material goods and resources, knowledge, and art.

Some things people value are ethical virtues like courage or honesty, whereas others are ethical principles like justice and equality. People generally value what they consider important, what matters to them, and what gives their lives meaning. Everyone recognizes the value of health, but public health approaches health in relation to science and the community in its endeavor to prevent disease and injury, protect the public from harm, and promote health and well-being. But seeing how science and community represent values requires a word of explanation.

The commitment to science as a value stance often becomes apparent only in relation to people who distrust science or prioritize other value commitments such as economic interests or religion. Public health values science by endeavoring to base interventions and policies on the best available data and evidence-based practices.

That endeavor entails a commitment to conduct surveillance and research, because only by understanding the social burden of disease and its underlying or structural causes can public health impact the health of the entire population.

South African Journal of Economic and Management Sciences

It also reminds us that during emergencies, time and resource constraints limit the ability to gather evidence. Public health values community in two obvious senses.


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  8. Yet there is a third, deeper sense in which community represents a value. A community is, to emphasize again, neither a statistical abstraction nor a mere aggregate of individuals but rather a network of relationships and emotional bonds between people sharing a life in common organized through a political and moral order Jennings The value that best reflects this fundamental, relational character of social life is solidarity. Solidarity can remain unspoken yet operative because it forms the basis of social life and collective action.

    Just as communities are not mere aggregates of individuals, neither are the agencies or organizations that make the collective decisions that affect the community.

    Ethical considerations in the management of Ebola virus disease | The Medical Journal of Australia

    Personal interests, to be sure, can motivate individuals, but the felt recognition of a common plight, that we are all in it together, underlies the collective decisions society and public health must make to solve collective problems. To say that public health values community means that it values solidarity, even when solidarity remains unacknowledged as is often the case Dawson and Jennings Chapter 8 on international collaboration will examine some practical challenges in addressing the right to health and social determinants of health, so the emphasis here will be on the rationale for achieving health equity as a matter of social justice.

    Despite greater individual access to health care and advances in public health, high burdens of disease remain across much of the globe. Some differences in disease burden result from genetics and some from variable risks of exposure to infectious agents and other threats, but most of the differential burden arises from social, economic, and political conditions.

    These conditions include poverty, lack of education, and discrimination against particular social groups and often reflect historical injustices or long-standing systemic, structural deficiencies. Collectively, these conditions have come to be known as social determinants of health Blane Greater access to individual health care can mitigate their effect, but an adequate response to them requires concerted public action to address their underlying causes. Whether comparing countries or groups within countries, social stratification by social determinants correlates with differences in health status Marmot These health differences have aroused widespread concern, but how one defines them significantly affects public health practice Braveman In particular, distinguishing health disparity from health inequity is critical.

    As a comparative indicator of health status, health disparity is a neutral, epidemiologic term that need not imply an ethical obligation to remedy. Health disparities, however, can and frequently do reflect underlying inequities. Justice has a range of meanings that include giving people what they deserve or are owed and distributing goods and services fairly.

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    In public health, discussions of health equity usually involve questions of how to distribute health benefits fairly or how to achieve better health outcomes among communities or groups that suffer health inequities. Attaining greater equity might involve the politically controversial strategy of disproportionally distributing resources within a population, by, for example, distributing more to those most in need.

    A less-controversial strategy is to improve health outcomes for all, even while devoting special efforts to those most in need. Achieving health equity is most urgent for groups who have experienced histories of marginalization and discrimination and who continue to experience higher rates of illness and premature deaths than members of the mainstream population.

    Realizing the goal of social justice with respect to health means achieving health equity. For many, these goals imply that social justice obligates public health to improve any social condition that prevents people from maintaining a standard of life adequate to maintain health Powers and Faden Throughout history, religious people have explained these ideas as revelations of divine command. Anthropologists, however, view morals as customs that govern social interactions, and because all cultures display such customs, interpret moral practices in terms of a survival function rooted in human nature.

    By contrast, many social and political thinkers emphasize that moral concepts result from social conventions or agreements that are subject to deliberation and change. Governments today often consult social scientists and health experts who empirically investigate what fosters or improves human life, health, and happiness. Where science informs law and policy, it helps define in a conventional sense what we mean by good and right.

    In particular, public health science helps establish what is considered good for the health of populations and communities. Further below we will examine three ethical theories prominent in public health ethics that offer contrasting perspectives on the nature and basis of morality. In the meantime, we will address three general questions that a public health practitioner first approaching the study of ethics might well ask: how does science relate to ethics, what is the difference between ethics and morality, and what sort of things count as principles or basic concepts in ethics?

    Public health practice increasingly requires appreciation of the complementary roles facts and values play in making and justifying decisions. Observation reveals facts, while scientific research controls and manipulates the experimental context to discover causation or correlation.

    Integrating Ethics: "What is Ethics?"

    Data on disease burden, research on intervention effectiveness, and estimates of the resultant health benefits for the population generally inform public health interventions. Health messaging can often inform the public about the scientific rationale underlying public health interventions. Nevertheless, in the mind of the public, scientific evidence does not always invalidate or outweigh other sources of evidence or appeals to emotions, interests, and values.

    While public health practitioners give more weight to community health and scientific evidence, they also need to consider how the public will respond to an intervention. Two mundane features of public health practice often serve to conceal value assumptions: shared core values and standard practice. First, sharing values can render them invisible as assumptions, until they unexpectedly become contested. Unwelcome surprises occur when interventions that presuppose core values affect stakeholders who do not share those values, as when parents refuse to have children vaccinated based on media hearsay or individuals reject a highly effective program as governmental intrusion.

    Second, routine use of evidence-based standards can conceal underlying value assumptions. What in the end dictate actions are the values, goals, and obligations that the standard intervention presupposes and that practitioners tacitly ratify each time they apply the standard. In other words, values, goals, and obligations, even when tacit, form a necessary bridge between knowledge and action. Though standard practices tacitly incorporate ethical principles, they seldom raise ethical challenges.

    Challenges more typically arise in unusual or extreme situations where standards are not yet in place, are changing, or are competing.