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Health ethics in six south east Asian countries

This report is the result of research conducted in Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Myanmar, Nepal and Sri Lanka during 1996, examining the status of teaching and awareness of health ethics in these countries. For each country the history and teaching of medical ethics are considered, in addition to the application of ethics in medical research.

The introduction notes that the initiation of the teaching and practice of health ethics in these six countries has largely evolved as a result of three factors: changes in socio-political scenario, influence of outside agencies, and the colonial legacy. At the time of writing, the most developed aspect of health ethics in these countries appeared to be in the domain of research ethics. Most of the countries had functioning ethics review committees that evaluated proposals for medical research for ethical implications.

Given that there must be sufficient awareness of ethical principles underlying research amongst researchers before effective application of such principles can take place, this is an interesting snapshot of the status of such principles in 1996.