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Free Content Tuberculosis surveillance and its discontents: the ethical paradox

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In June 2017, the World Health Organization issued the Guidelines on Ethical Issues in Public Health Surveillance. Using the frame of public health ethics, the guidance declared that countries have an affirmative duty to undertake surveillance and that the global community had an obligation to support those countries whose resources limited their capacity. The centrality of TB surveillance has long been recognized as a matter of public health practice and ethics. Nevertheless, contemporary global realities make clear that TB surveillance falls far short of the goal of uniform notification. It is this reality that necessitated the paradoxical turn to research studies that require informed consent and human subjects' ethical review, the very burdens that mandated notification were designed to overcome.
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Keywords: public health ethics; surveillance; tuberculosis

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, New York, NY 2: School of Public Health, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, USA 3: World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland 4: Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, Atlanta, GA, USA

Publication date: May 1, 2020

More about this publication?
  • The International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease publishes articles on all aspects of lung health, including public health-related issues such as training programmes, cost-benefit analysis, legislation, epidemiology, intervention studies and health systems research. The IJTLD is dedicated to the continuing education of physicians and health personnel and the dissemination of information on lung health world-wide.

    To share scientific research of immediate concern as rapidly as possible, The Union is fast-tracking the publication of certain articles from the IJTLD and publishing them on The Union website, prior to their publication in the Journal. Read fast-track articles.

    Certain IJTLD articles are also selected for translation into French, Spanish, Chinese or Russian. These are available on the Union website.

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