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Global Health Ethics

When global outbreaks of disease are declared ‘over’, what, when and for whom is an end ‘the end’  - and what happens after?

How do declarations of ends shape personal experiences of crises, ongoing access to care, health and obligations?

Global health is defined by narratives of a clearly discernible and singular end. Official announcements of ‘the end’, however, are often arbitrary and unstable. Furthermore, they can distract from important counter-narratives and undermine social, environmental, political and epistemic justice when those ‘left behind’ are excluded from discussions of whether the end has been achieved, or is achievable, and if so when and how. Today, uncertain trajectories, the ‘slow violence’ of environmental degradation, passive attrition of many diseases, and drug resistances question ideas of a singular extinction event and finality.

Drawing on an interdisciplinary approach involving historians, sociologists, epidemiologists, psychologists, bioethicists, literary and legal scholars, philosophers and policymakers, this timely and important research has two synergistic empirical and normative aims:

  1. To explore lived experiences of time and temporality of endings of crises, to capture counter-narratives and their implications for future practices, responses and policies, and
  2. To provide an account of the moral and ethical obligations and responsibilities of global health institutions in the aftermaths of crises to health.

From detailed comparative research in three countries, including ethnographic, cognitive time-perception and archival methodologies, we will foreground the people, places, processes and policies to capture everyday experiences of endings and aftermaths in context.

Project collaborators

This multidisciplinary project is funded by the Wellcome Trust. It is undertaken with following collaborators and is a partnership between Ethox and the Pandemic Sciences Institute.

Project Outputs

After the end? Exploring the BFI National Archive in the wake of Covid-19

Blog post by Dr Kelechi Anucha. In the aftermath of the Covid pandemic, we have been working tne BFI (British Film Institute) collection of film and television to investigate how public health emergencies of the past have been represented on screen.