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Malawi Medical Journal

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Ethical dilemmas in malaria vector research in Africa: Making the difficult choice between mosquito, science and humans

P Ndebele, R Musesengwa

Abstract


Malaria vector studies are a very important aspect of malaria research as they assist researchers to learn more about the malaria vector. Research programmes in various African countries include studies that assess various methods of preventing malaria transmission including controlling the malaria vector. Various institutions have also established mosquito colonies that are maintained by staff from the institutions. Malaria vector research presents several dilemmas relating to the various ways in which humans are used in the malaria vector research enterprise. A review of the past and present practices reveals much about the prevailing attitudes and assumptions with regard to the ethical conduct of research involving humans. The focus on the science of malaria vector research has led some researchers in African institutions to engage in questionable practices which reveal the ethical tensions inherent in the choice between science and the principles of justice, nonmaleficence and respect for individuals. The analysis of past and present choices in malaria vector research has relevance to broader questions of human dignity and are in line with the current emphasis on ethical research worldwide.



AJOL African Journals Online