Ethics & Engagement across the Wellcome Trust Major Overseas Programmes
Alex Hinga is a 2016/2017 Global Health Bioethics Network Fellow
Alex Hinga graduated with a Master of Science degree in Public Health from UWE Bristol in 2014. In 2015, he joined the KEMRI Wellcome Trust Research Programme in Kilifi Kenya as a PHD Student. Alex has research interests in the ethics of complex health systems and longitudinal observational studies. He has previously worked in research projects involving field epidemiology, evaluation of e-learning programmes and national end of life care strategies. His PHD project is exploring ethical issues for Health and Demographic Surveillance Systems (HDSS) in sub-Saharan Africa.
Project Title: Describing Ethically Important Features of Health and Demographic Surveillance Systems in sub-Saharan Africa: Context, Functioning and History
Health and Demographic Surveillance Systems (HDSS) longitudinally record births, deaths, migrations and pregnancies in geographically defined populations. The majority of HDSS sites are located in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) where they follow-up 3.2 million people. HDSS occupy a grey area between research, health care and public health practice. Surveillance – the core function of HDSS – is often accompanied by research projects and provision of health care.
It is not clear how ethical frameworks and guidelines developed for research, health care and public health should be applied in HDSS. In addition, while many HDSS sites have been in operation for decades, only a few have documented their experiences of addressing ethical issues.
This bursary project is nested within a larger PHD study exploring ethical issues for HDSS in SSA using a case study methodology. The project aims to describe the similarities and differences between HDSS sites in terms of their history, functioning and context. This will be achieved through literature and document review, observation of surveillance activities in selected sites and discussions with HDSS research staff. The overall analysis will lead to a rich description of HDSS sites and mapping out of potential ethical issues for future in-depth inquiry.
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