One of CBEC’s key contributions during the Covid-19 pandemic included drawing up a guidance document for ethical decision-making contextualized to realities of Pakistan. These guidelines were formulated when the pandemic started unfolding in Pakistan, and then circulated to several key stakeholders in both private and public medical institutions, and civil society members. Since then, the National Bioethics Committee of Pakistan has also ratified them.

Faculty members from CBEC have been at the forefront for writing about various ethical issues ensued due to the onset of Covid. Our voices are represented in academic publications, as well as in the lay press.

Academic Publications

Lay Press Publications

Covid-19 Research Quagmire: Perspectives from the Subcontinent

In order to reach out to the public in a more effective manner, CBEC launched a series, #HUMANSOFCOVID on its Facebook page. This series carries a variety of different narratives that uncover the lived experiences of various individuals affected by Covid-19. Some of the narratives focused on people’s experiences from working from home, those of the daily wageworkers ravaged due to lockdowns, and individuals who shared their worries/preoccupations with respect to the pandemic.

Please visit our Facebook page to see the narratives.

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.

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.