Lifespans: Americans 80 years and rising; Africans 40 and falling

esc-cover.pngMedical Research Hits Cultural Roadblocks
By Stephen Leahy

The lifespan of a U.S. citizen is 80 and rising while an African’s is 40 and falling.
“That is the mother of all ethical challenges for the world to grapple with,” said Peter Singer of McLaughlin-Rotman Centre for Global Health in Toronto.

Sep 11 (IPS) – Many new medical technologies to improve the lives of people in the global South fail to be adopted not because of the costs but because of ethical, social and cultural issues, a new study reveals.

These issues include community and public engagement, cultural acceptability and gender, according to the comprehensive study featuring interviews with leading health experts in developing countries and published Monday in the U.S. peer-reviewed online journal PLoS Medicine.

Improper consultation with affected communities resulted in public pressure to end to medical trials of tenofovir, an antiviral medication used to treat HIV, in Cambodia, Cameroon, and Nigeria. In that instance, the community was commercial sex workers who weren’t properly consulted and would not benefit from the trials. Continue reading