Bulletin of the World Health Organization

In this month's Bulletin

WHO 60th anniversary commemorative volume

This month’s special theme is ethics and public health. In the first editorial, Carl H Coleman et al. (578) discuss the key issues in public-health ethics and how WHO incorporates ethics into its mission. In the second, John Krebs (579) presents the ethical dilemma involved in balancing individual rights with government intervention. In the third, Cristina P Pinheiro (580) questions the ethics of drug donations and proposes alternative aid solutions.

In an interview, Mary Robinson (587–588), former President of Ireland and ex-United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, talks about the need for a more ethical approach to health policy worldwide. To complement the theme of this month’s issue, John R Williams (650–652) looks at the Declaration of Helsinki – a set of principles guiding medical and scientific research – and how it has evolved over time. The cover presents a classic public-health poster on the sharing of expert knowledge.

Primary health care

Mojgan Tavassoli (585–586) reports on the health houses that have been the “powerful arm of rural health care” since the 1980–1988 war against Iraq.

Religion and science

Farzaneh Zahedi & Bagher Larijani (630–634) discuss how national legislation that deals with modern bioethical issues has been enacted.

Positive policy change

Adnan A Hyder et al. (606–611) look at how two countries successfully integrated ethics to produce a positive change in public-health policy.

Denaturalizing scarcity

Ted Schrecker (600–605) proposes that many global inequalities in health resources are not natural but are the result of deliberate policy decisions.

Migrant health

Alice Ghent (583–584) reports on the rising issue of global migration and the need for more equitable access to health care.

Many barriers to treatment

Using the case of type 1 diabetes, David Beran et al. (648–649) assert that access to medicines is only one part of the dilemma of care for chronic diseases.

Ethics versus economics

Patralekha Chatterjee (581–582) reports on how the boom in clinical trials in India is raising ethical concerns.

A human rights approach

Sofia Gruskin et al. (589–593) outline the historical evolution of placing maternal mortality rates in a human rights context.

Ethics and technology

Samuli I Saarni et al. (617–623) present a model for the ethical analysis of implementing new health technologies.

Ethical oversight needed

Margaret Carrel & Stuart Rennie (612–616) explore key ethical questions that arise during longitudinal demographic and health surveillance.

A personalist approach

Carlo Petrini & Sabina Gainotti (624–629) highlight the difficulties in defining ethics for public health and suggest that the most relevant theory is personalism.

Guidelines for herbal medicine research

Jon C Tilburt & Ted J Kaptchuk (594–599) propose a framework of eight ethical requirements for research into the use of herbal and traditional medicines.

Emerging epidemics

Christopher McDougall et al. (643–645) report on the evolution of cooperation among the international community in dealing with public-health security.

Time to revisit surgery

Doruk Ozgediz et al. (646–647) present growing evidence on the cost-effectiveness of surgery in addressing the global burden of disease.

Health sector needs to support abused women

Manuela Colombini et al. (635–642) highlight the challenges of integrating responses to intimate partner violence into the health sector.