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(1/142) Can we learn from eugenics?

Eugenics casts a long shadow over contemporary genetics. Any measure, whether in clinical genetics or biotechnology, which is suspected of eugenic intent is likely to be opposed on that ground. Yet there is little consensus on what this word signifies, and often only a remote connection to the very complex set of social movements which took that name. After a brief historical summary of eugenics, this essay attempts to locate any wrongs inherent in eugenic doctrines. Four candidates are examined and rejected. The moral challenge posed by eugenics for genetics in our own time, I argue, is to achieve social justice.  (+info)

(2/142) Should childhood immunisation be compulsory?

Immunisation is offered to all age groups in the UK, but is mainly given to infants and school-age children. Such immunisation is not compulsory, in contrast to other countries, such as the United States. Levels of immunisation are generally very high in the UK, but the rates of immunisation vary with the public perception of the risk of side effects. This article discusses whether compulsory vaccination is acceptable by considering individual cases where parents have failed to give consent or have explicitly refused consent for their children to be immunised. In particular, the rights of: a parent to rear his/her child according to his/her own standards; the child to receive health care, and the community to be protected from vaccine-preventable infectious disease are considered. The conclusion of the article is that compulsory vaccination cannot, with very few exceptions, be justified in the UK, in view of the high levels of population immunity which currently exist.  (+info)

(3/142) An international survey of medical ethics curricula in Asia.

SETTING: Medical ethics education has become common, and the integrated ethics curriculum has been recommended in Western countries. It should be questioned whether there is one, universal method of teaching ethics applicable worldwide to medical schools, especially those in non-Western developing countries. OBJECTIVE: To characterise the medical ethics curricula at Asian medical schools. DESIGN: Mailed survey of 206 medical schools in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Korea, Mongolia, Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Australia and New Zealand. PARTICIPANTS: A total of 100 medical schools responded, a response rate of 49%, ranging from 23%-100% by country. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: The degree of integration of the ethics programme into the formal medical curriculum was measured by lecture time; whether compulsory or elective; whether separate courses or unit of other courses; number of courses; schedule; total length, and diversity of teachers' specialties. RESULTS: A total of 89 medical schools (89%) reported offering some courses in which ethical topics were taught. Separate medical ethics courses were mostly offered in all countries, and the structure of vertical integration was divided into four patterns. Most deans reported that physicians' obligations and patients' rights were the most important topics for their students. However, the evaluation was diverse for more concrete topics. CONCLUSION: Offering formal medical ethics education is a widespread feature of medical curricula throughout the study area. However, the kinds of programmes, especially with regard to integration into clinical teaching, were greatly diverse.  (+info)

(4/142) Altruism, blood donation and public policy: a reply to Keown.

This is a continuation of and a development of a debate between John Keown and me. The issue discussed is whether, in Britain, an unpaid system of blood donation promotes and is justified by its promotion of altruism. Doubt is cast on the notions that public policies can, and, if they can, that they should, be aimed at the promotion and expression of altruism rather than of self-interest, especially that of a mercenary sort. Reflections upon President Kennedy's proposition, introduced into the debate by Keown, that we should ask not what our country can do for us but what we can do for our country is pivotal to this casting of doubt. A case is made for suggesting that advocacy along the lines which Keown presents of an exclusive reliance on a voluntary, unpaid system of blood donation encourages inappropriate attitudes towards the provision of health care. Perhaps, it is suggested, and the suggestion represents, on my part, a change of mind as a consequence of the debate, a dual system of blood provision might be preferable.  (+info)

(5/142) The ethics of anonymized HIV testing of pregnant women: a reappraisal.

Seroprevalence monitoring of HIV in pregnant women by anonymized unlinked testing has been widely adopted in the UK and other countries. The scientific rationale is to eliminate participation and selection bias. The ethical justification is that the public good outweighs any harm to individuals. The assumption has been that individuals have had their autonomy respected by the offer of informed consent. In the light of new scientific evidence, it is doubtful that the public good is best served by the continuation of anonymously testing women receiving antenatal care. It is submitted that it is no longer ethical for health professionals to refrain from informing pregnant women of the benefits of voluntary named testing, or to request their consent to anonymized testing. The legal and moral concept of duty of care is examined, and the abrogation of this duty through anonymization is explained.  (+info)

(6/142) A reply to McLachlan.

In an earlier article in this journal, I advanced five ethical arguments in favour of a voluntary, unpaid system of blood donation. In his reply to my article, Hugh McLachlan criticised one of those arguments, namely, the argument that an unpaid system promotes altruism and social solidarity. In this reply to Dr. McLachlan, I maintain that his criticism is misguided, and that he appears unclear not only about my own argument, but also about his own.  (+info)

(7/142) How human immunodeficiency virus voluntary testing can contribute to tuberculosis control.

Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is fueling the tuberculosis (TB) epidemic, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa. However, despite their close epidemiological links, the public health responses have largely been separate. WHO has set out a strategy to decrease the burden of HIV-related TB, comprising interventions against both TB and HIV. Voluntary counselling and testing (VCT) for HIV can link TB and HIV programme activities. The benefits of VCT for HIV to TB patients include referral for appropriate clinical care and support for those testing HIV-positive. Likewise, people attending a centre for VCT can benefit from TB screening: those found to be both HIV-positive and with active TB need referral for TB treatment; those without active TB should be offered TB preventive treatment with isoniazid. To explore how VCT for HIV can contribute to a more coherent response to TB, WHO is coordinating the ProTEST Initiative. The name "ProTEST" is derived from the Promotion of voluntary testing as an entry point for access to the core interventions of intensified TB case-finding and isoniazid preventive treatment. Other interventions may be added to provide finally a comprehensive range of HIV and TB prevention and care interventions. Under the ProTEST Initiative, pilot districts are establishing links between centres for VCT for HIV and TB prevention and care. This will pave the way for large-scale operationalization of the comprehensive range of interventions needed to control TB in settings with high HIV prevalence.  (+info)

(8/142) Feasibility and effectiveness of offering a solution-focused follow-up to employees with psychological problems or muscle skeletal pain: a randomised controlled trial.

BACKGROUND: Long-term sick leave has been of concern to politicians and decision-makers in Norway for several years. In the current study we assess the feasibility and effectiveness of offering a voluntary, solution-focused follow-up to sick-listed employees. METHODS: Employees on long-term sick leave due to psychological problems or muscle skeletal pain were randomly allocated to be offered a solution-focused follow-up (n = 122) or "treatment as usual" (n = 106). The intervention was integrated within 2 social security offices' regular follow-up. The intervention group was informed about the offer with letters, telephone calls and information meetings. Feasibility was measured by rate of uptake to the intervention, and effectiveness by number of days on sick leave. RESULTS: In general, few were reached with the different information elements. While the letter was sent to all, only 31% were reached by telephone and 15% attended the information meetings. Thirteen employees (11.5%) in the intervention group participated in the solution-focused follow-up. Intention to treat analysis showed no difference in mean length of sick leave between the intervention group (217 days) and the control group (189 days) (p = 0,101). CONCLUSION: Even if the information strategy might be improved, it is not likely that a voluntary solution-focused follow-up offered by the social security offices would result in measurable reduction in length of sick leave on a population level. However, the efficacy of a solution-focused follow-up for the persons reporting a need for this approach should be further investigated.  (+info)