An ethics account of global health security


  • Dr Frances Butcher

    University of Oxford

Project summary

Infectious disease outbreaks, such as the 2014 Ebola outbreak, can have devastating effects on communities.  When these outbreaks spread through a region, they require international responses. We may think of the World Health Organization and medical charities as responding to outbreaks, but countries including the UK and US, also have roles to play – their global health security programmes help those affected and maintain the security of the UK and US by preventing outbreaks that would affect their own people. Ethical issues can arise when these aims conflict. For example, stopping flights to the UK from a country with an outbreak may be a good security precaution, but can also hinder attempts to get aid to the affected country.  

By interviewing key people and analysing ethical arguments, my research will look at ethical issues surrounding global health security programmes in the UK and US. This will help me make recommendations on how these programmes should be run.