Bioethics Training: Report on the Experience of a Medical Bioethics’ Scholar in a Tertiary Referral Hospital in a Low- and Middle-Income Country

*Corresponding author: John Weru*

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Abstract

Skills in biomedical ethics are limited in the African health care systems. This significantly affects the bioethics discourse in the medical practice. The main reason for the paucity in knowledge and skills in bioethics is minimal or no training at all imparted to healthcare professionals. Where there is training, it is not well-structured like other courses in the training institutions. This report summarizes the status of bioethics training and outlines the implementation, processes, outcome and future outlook of a bioethics teaching project for masters in medicine residents (students) in a tertiary referral hospital in Africa. This project was part of postgraduate studies in biomedical ethics by a practicing physician. It entailed teaching bioethics to first year master’s in medicine residents (students). The teachings occurred in the author’s affiliated institution monthly for six-months. The topics covered were: general introduction to bioethics, ethical issues at end-of-life (EoL), informed consent, basics of research ethics, plagiarism and doctor-pharma interaction. These topics were selected due to their relevance to the residents in their practice and because they
needed to undertake research studies to graduate from the masters training program. In addition, these basic bioethics training provided the residents with the foundation to develop knowledge geared towards improving skills in analyzing diverse areas in the contemporary bioethics’ environment such as end-of-life care (EoLC), human research ethics, doctor-pharmaceutical relationships while looking at them within the context of political, cultural, socio-economic, and environmental determinants.
Keywords
Bioethics; Training; Kenya; Africa.