Covid-19 Research Quagmire: Perspectives from the Subcontinent

The first CBEC-SIUT webinar of #CBEContheweb series titled ‘The COVID-19 Research Quagmire: Perspectives from the Subcontinent’ was held on Thursday May 14, 2020. It focused on the research opportunities that have emerged from within the contexts of two countries, Pakistan and India. The webinar provided a learning experience for attendees who wished to know how COVID-19 has shaped research in the subcontinent.
The speakers included Dr. Mariam Hasan from Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital and Research Centre, Pakistan; Dr. Saima P. Iqbal from the Research Ethics Committee of the National Bioethics Committee, Pakistan, Dr. Anant Bhan from Yenepaya University, India and Dr. Natasha Anwar from Aga Khan University, Pakistan.

Taming of a Pandemic: Evidence, Context and Realities of LMICs

The second CBEC-SIUT webinar of #CBEContheweb series titled, ‘Taming of a Pandemic: Evidence, Context and Realities of LMICs’ was held on June 10, 2020.
The speakers included Prof. Keymanthri Moodley from Stellenbosch University, South Africa; Prof. Richard Cash from Harward University, United States of America and Ms. Amber Mehmood from John Hopkins University, United States of America.

Balancing Research with Therapy during Covid-19: MEURI and Beyond

The third CBEC-SIUT webinar of #CBEContheweb series under the title ‘Balancing Research with Therapy during COVID-19: MEURI and Beyond’ was held on August 5, 2020. The webinar focused on the historical roots of this framework and engaged the participants in a discussion about the possibilities that lie ahead now that several projects using the MEURI framework have concluded
The MEURI framework (Monitored Emergency Use of Unregistered and Investigational Interventions) developed in the wake of the Ebola epidemic in 2014 allowed the utilization of unregistered interventions in the absence of effective treatments for desperately ill patients. The aim was also to learn from this experience and generate generalizable knowledge. Although not an ideal research framework, MEURI has been used extensively in the current Covid-19 Pandemic.
The speakers included Prof. Andreas Reis from World Health Organization, Switzerland and Prof. Aasim Ahmad from The Kidney Centre, Pakistan.

Data Privacy and Public Health- all is fair in love and war?

#CBEContheweb series fourth webinar titled ‘Data Privacy and Public Health – all is fair in love and war?’ held on September 16, 2020 attempted to answer important questions related to private health data during public health emergencies raising ethical concerns, especially in Pakistan where oversight and regulation of such processes is questionable.

In recent years, there has been a rapid emergence of new digital technologies which can be deployed to conduct public health surveillance activities. However, experience with dengue outbreaks in the past, and with the current COVID-19 pandemic, has indicated a lack of awareness and understanding about the nature of private health information that can be shared, both among public health officials and in the community.

The speakers included Dr. Joseph Ali from John Hopkins University, United States of America; Dr. Haroon Jehangir from Punjab Health Services, Pakistan and Ms. Nighat Dad and Ms. Shmyla Khan from Digital Rights Foundation, Pakistan.

Ethics and Vector-Borne Diseases: WHO Guidance document

CBEC co-hosted three webinars with World Health Organization in support of dissemination of the recently published, “Ethics and Vector-Borne Diseases: WHO Guidance” document.

The first webinar was held on Wednesday, December 9, 2020 for Eastern Mediterranean Region of WHO.

The second webinar designed for the WHO Regional office for Africa was held on Friday December 11, 2020.

The third webinar targeting the South East Asia Regional Office of WHO was held on December 17, 2020.

All three webinars attracted relevant audiences and were able to generate important discussion regarding ethical issues connected to vector-borne diseases.

Covid-19 vaccination: Obligation versus choice

In this webinar, a panel of four experts discussed the case of mandatory vaccinations, particularly for healthcare workers. After providing the science of available Covid-19 vaccinations, the sessions examined the ethical arguments for and against mandatory Covid-19 vaccinations. Widely attended, this webinar provided an in-depth perspective into the then-current debate about mandatory vaccinations.

Teaching bioethics online: building strong foundations for a diverse curricula

In order to provide a perspective on online bioethics education particularly necessitated during Covid-19 times, a webinar was held titled, “Teaching bioethics online: building strong foundations for a diverse curricula.” In this session, Dr. Dominique Martin, Associate Professor in Bioethics and Professionalism at the School of Medicine, Deakin University, Australia, shared her experiences in teaching bioethics online, giving perspectives on how best to teach and assess students, and structure virtual bioethics courses. This webinar was widely attended by more than 50 participants, and also had familiar participants from our alumni network.

Research in abnormal conditions: Views from a Palestinian researcher

The tenth event in our #CBEContheweb series was titled, “Research in abnormal conditions: Views from a Palestinian researcher,” in which Dr. Niveen Abu Rmeileh, Professor of Epidemiology and Public Health at Birzeit University, Palestine talked about her lived experience of researching in an occupied land. With over 40 participants from different parts of the world including Kenya, Pakistan, South Africa, Iran and others, this webinar provided a glimpse of an entirely different world, unimaginable for those who live in sovereign nations.

Covid-19 vaccine boosters: The date and the Dilemma

Organized in collaboration with Medical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases Society (MMIDSP), Pakistan, this webinar in the Covid-19 series centered on the ethics of booster shots in developed nations against the backdrop of global health inequities. The webinar brought together a panel of four experts (names featured on the poster) who discussed the scientific and ethical debates surrounding booster shoots for Covid-19.

Public good versus individual autonomy: Covid-19 vaccinations and beyond

Diving once again into the area of public health ethics, this webinar took place at the culmination of a hybrid workshop at CBEC titled, “Ethics during public health emergencies.” The webinar, organized in the format of a panel discussion, featured James Ayeiko and Melba Katindi from Kenya, and Dr. Natasha Anwar from Pakistan. The speaker for the event was Dr. Walter Jaoko. Exploring the ethical, legal and social implications of public health measures to control the pandemic from the Pakistani and Kenyan perspective, the webinar shed insight into the ways of dealing with public health emergencies in the future.

W]righting Pakistan with Omar Shahid Hamid

Moving into the realm of arts and humanities, CBEC hosted a webinar with famous Pakistani author, Omar Shahid Hamid who also serves as a counterterrorism professional in the country. He has acclaimed fame for his fiction books including The Spinner’s Tale, The Prisoner: A Novel, and The Party Worker among others. His books uncover the streets of the cosmopolitan city of Karachi exploring various political and socioeconomic angles. The session, moderated by Ms. Sualeha Shekhani from CBEC, enlightened participants about his motivations for writing, and the ways in which he balances two distinct professions.