Division of Medical Ethics and Law
Postgraduate Diploma in Health Research Ethics: Module 3
MODULE 3: VULNERABILITY IN RESEARCH
Module director(s): Prof. S. Rennie, Prof. K.Moodley Faculty: Prof. S. Seedat, Prof S.Kling, Prof. E.Jeungst, Dr T.Rossouw, Prof. A.Van Niekerk
The concept of vulnerability has, for understandable reasons, become an important concept in regulations and ethical discussions in regard to the ethics of conducting research with human participants in developing countries. The goals of this module are to better understand what is meant by 'vulnerability' and how the various kinds of vulnerability should be taken into account in evaluating the ethics of research studies. Attention will be devoted to vulnerability connected to special populations, such as research with children and mental health research, as well as vulnerability related to research on specific health conditions such as genetic and oncology research. Since the concept of vulnerability is applicable at both individual and community levels, attention will also be devoted to ethical issues regarding infectious disease control and associated principles of public health ethics. Southern Africa is positioned at the epicenter of the HIV/AIDS pandemic with the co-existent emergence of drug resistant Tuberculosis. Research in the context of vulnerability created by this public health disaster raises a myriad of ethical questions that will be addressed in this final module.
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