On Wednesday 14 October, WHO will launch new guidance: Ethics & vector-borne diseases. The guidance document is a culmination of more than three years of work and will be a valuable new tool to support global efforts to prevent and control vector-borne diseases (VBDs).
VBDs are a major contributor to global morbidity and mortality and have a disproportionate impact on the world's poorest populations. However, despite the growing burden and threat of VBDs to individuals, families and societies, the significant ethical issues raised by VBDs have received only limited attention. Recognizing this gap, WHO developed this guidance to help programs and staff working in VBD prevention and control identify and respond to the core ethical issues at stake.
The guidance was developed by an international group of experts in vector control, infectious disease ethics, maternal and child health, ecology and climate change, research and vaccine development, and public health communication. It examines a broad range of ethical considerations related to VBD prevention and control, including the social and environmental determinants of health; vector control methods, including emerging technologies; screening, surveillance and research; vaccine campaigns and mass drug administration.
Grounded in a multidisciplinary framework, the guidance emphasizes the critical role of community engagement in designing and implementing an appropriate, sustainable public health response.
In addition to the ethics guidance document, WHO will also release its position statement, Evaluation of genetically modified mosquitoes for the control of vector-borne diseases. The event will be hosted by WHO Chief Scientist, Soumya Swaminathan and feature the following speakers:
- University of Oxford (UK) and Monash University (Australia)
- Raman Velayudhan, Coordinator, WHO, Veterinary Public Health, Vector Control and Environment Unit
- Francine Ntoumi, Fondation Congolaise pour la recherche Médicale, Faculté des Sciences et Techniques, Université Marien Ngouabi (Republic of the Congo)
- John Reeder, WHO Research for Health Department