The PHASES/Zika pregnancy ethics grant team will travel to Argentina in November to attend a meeting of the Global Forum for Bioethics in Research (GFBR). KIE Director and co-principal investigator for the shared grants Maggie Little will present as a keynote speaker on the 2016 theme of “Ethics of Research in Pregnancy”:
There is currently no broadly acceptable ethical framework for guiding research during pregnancy. This has a significant impact on maternal and neonate health. Unresolved ethical questions – including what is meant by ‘minimal risk’ and how regulations governing pregnancy research should be interpreted – mean that pregnant women are often “over-excluded” from research. This results in a lack of knowledge about the efficacy of medicines and health interventions for pregnant women. These challenges are made harder in low- and middle-income country (LMIC) settings, due to high variability in protections for women and social and cultural conventions that increase women’s vulnerability. This is an area in urgent need for global progress if research on treatments for major LMIC infections (e.g. HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, helminths, emerging viral epidemics) and non-communicable conditions (e.g. mental ill-health, substance abuse, diabetes, hypertension, anemia) is to advance.
The Global Forum on Bioethics in Research (GFBR) exists to provide a global platform for the exchange and sharing of experience and expertise on research ethics among researchers, research policy makers and ethicists, among others. The GFBR also facilitates debate on ethical, social, legal and public policy issues related to health research, and specifically of research involving countries from the north conducting research in the south.