Ethical Dimensions of Public Health Actions and Policies With Special Focus on COVID-19

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Institute of Global Health & Human Ecology

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Basma M. Saleh; Eman Mohamed Aly; Marwa Hafiz; Rana M. Abdel Gawad; Wafa Abu El Kheir-Mataria; Mohamed Salama

Document Type

Research Article

Publication Title

Frontiers in public health

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During pandemics, the ethicists, public health professionals, and human rights advocates raise a red flag about different public health actions that should, at best, be addressed through integrated, global policies. How to rationalize the healthcare resources and prioritize the cases is not a recent challenge but the serious concern about that is how to achieve this while not increasing the vulnerability of the disadvantaged population. Healthcare professionals use different scoring systems as a part of their decision-making so the medical teams and triage committees can allocate resources for predictable health outcomes and prognosis as well as to appropriately triage the patients accordingly. However, the value of the existing scoring systems to manage COVID-19 cases is not well-established yet. Part of this problem includes managing non-COVID patients with chronic medical conditions like non-communicable diseases and addressing their medical needs during the pandemic complex context in a way to avoid worsening their conditions and, on the other hand, avoid hindering the establishment of comprehensive standards for dealing with COVID-19. In this article, we discuss this dilemma as well as how preexisting ethical standards were challenged by COVID-19. We also discuss how monitoring the consistent application of ethical standards during the medical trials of new medications, vaccines, or unproven medical interventions is also a critical issue.

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