Ethics in Epidemics and Disasters: Rights & Obligations of Healthcare Workers
Keywords: Health care workers, disasters, epidemics, obligations of governments, obligations of health care workers, ethics, world health organization, WHO
Andreas Alois Reis (MD, MSc) is a Technical Officer in the Global Health Ethics Unit of the Department of Knowledge, Ethics, and Research at WHO in Geneva, Switzerland. After medical studies and practice in internal medicine in Germany, France and Chile he pursued studies in health economics and ethics. His main area of work is public health ethics, with a focus on distributive justice and equitable access to health services, and ethical aspects of infectious diseases such as HIV, pandemic influenza, and tuberculosis. He has published widely, lectured and organized trainings for WHO in more than 40 countries, and is serving on the editorial boards of Public Health Ethics and Monash Bioethics Review. In this presentation Dr. Reis discusses important ethical aspects of the deployment of Health Care Workers in areas of epidemics and disasters. Human resources are the foundation to an effective response to humanitarian crises The WHO report "A universal truth: No health without a workforce" - revealed an estimated shortage of almost 7.2 million doctors, midwives, nurses and support workers worldwide (WHO, 2013) SARS and Ebola have shown that health care workers (HCW) are at increased risk of infection and death Do health care workers have a duty to care during humanitarian crises? If so, is it unlimited? Should health care workers receive priority treatment, prophylaxis or vaccine? Which persons are included ("professionals" or others)? How and by whom should obligations be formulated and enforced? What are the obligations of governments?