RinGs at the Oxford Global Health and Bioethics International Conference

From the 17-18 July RinGs will be attending the Oxford Global Health and Bioethics International Conference in the UK where we will be represented by Sassy Molyneux.

The conference is an opportunity to talk across different disciplines, areas of health, and geographical locations to explore ethics in global health and find areas of overarching concern.

Sassy will be presenting a paper that was developed with Freddy Kitutu, Bridget Pratt, Hayley McGregor, Sarah Saali and Dorcas Kamuya. ‘Building the field: Developing networks to support ethics research and practice for health policy and systems research (HPSR) in sub-Saharan Africa’ argues that the ethical governance of the field of health systems research – including guidelines, recommendations and associated accountability processes – is contested. The uncritical application of bioethics guidelines, recommendations and accountability processes in health systems research processes is problematic as:

  • Human subjects’ guidance focuses on individual protections, whereas a lot of health systems research focuses on populations and systems;
  • The research-practice distinction fundamental to much biomedical research guidance is often blurred in health systems research; and
  • The dominance of managerial/bureaucratic approaches to hold researchers to account (e.g. reviews and audits) can create particular hurdles or perverse outcomes for health systems research

In the presentation, she will share some of the past and planned activities of two networks with an interest in ethics and health systems research: RinGs and the ethics thematic working group of Health Systems Global.  She will include reflections on the ethical dilemmas they have faced over the course of conducting diverse qualitative health systems studies in sub-Saharan Africa, focusing on dilemmas related to three sets of relationships:  between researchers working in multi-disciplinary consortia; between researchers and health managers/providers; and between researchers and community members