Workshop on Managing Ethical Issues in Infectious Disease Outbreaks

On 26th November took place in Brussels the workshop on Guidance for Managing Ethical Issues in Infectious Disease Outbreaks, jointly organised by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and MediPIET. Abha Saxena and Manush Guilhem were in charge to present the Guidance.

The Guidance on Managing Ethical Issues in Infectious Disease Outbreaks document was produced under the overall direction of Abha Saxena, Coordinator of the Global Health Ethics team. The guidance grew out of concern at the WHO about ethical issues raised by the Ebola outbreak in West Africa in 2014-2016. The WHO Global Health Ethics Unit’s response to Ebola began in August 2014, immediately after it was declared a “public health emergency of international concern” pursuant to the International Health Regulations (2005).

Infectious disease outbreaks are periods of great uncertainty. Events unfold, resources and capacities that are oftern limited are stretched yet further, and decisions for a public health response mus be made quicklu, even though the evidence for decision-making may be scant. In such situation, public health officials, policy-makers, funders, researchers, field epidemiologists… need a moral compass to guide them in their decision-making.