Book preface:

Conducting good, ethical global health research is now more important than ever. Increased global mobility and connectivity mean that in today’s world there is no such thing as ‘local health’. How we experience the effects of disease may be shaped by our particular social and political-economic circumstances, but the sick in one part of the world and the healthy in another are connected through economics, politics, media, and imagination,
as well as by the infectiousness of disease. Global health research carried out through transnational collaboration is one crucial way in which people from far-flung geographic regions relate to each other. Good global health research, and the relationships it creates, therefore, concerns us all.

This book is a collection of fictionalized case studies of everyday ethical dilemmas and challenges often encountered in the process of conducting global health research in Africa where the effects of global, political and economic inequality are particularly evident. Our aim is to create a training tool which can begin to fill the gap between research ethics guidelines and their implementation ‘on the ground’. The case studies, therefore, focus on everyday or ‘relational’ ethics: ethical actions and ideas that emerge through relations with others in context, rather than in universal principles or abstract regulations.

The fictional case studies are based on stories and experiences collected by a group of anthropologists who have worked with leading transnational medical research organizations across Africa over the past decade. The stories have been anonymised, combined with each other, and substantially altered in order to provide ‘stumbling stones’ to start discussions, without naming real places or situations.

As a collection, these stories offer a flexible resource for training across a variety of contexts, such as medical research organizations, universities, collaborative sites, and NGOs. We hope they will encourage global health researchers to think – and talk – about their everyday experiences and practices, and about ethics, in a new light.

To Download the entire book for free, click here 

This book was funded by The Wellcome Trust

Aellah, G; Chantler, T; Geissler, PW (2016) Global Health Research in an Unequal World: Ethics Case Studies from Africa CABI: Oxfordshire, UK. Available at: 


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  • smitbpharm Smit Shah 15 Nov 2017

    Many Thanks for providing such incredible support towards ethical research. and I would love to read each case, solve them and learn from them. Best Wishes.

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