Through the Faculty of Medicine, the University of Ottawa has become the first Canadian university to endorse a new set of principles intended to guide policy on short-term global health work, which too often fails to consider the needs of a host community and occasionally causes more harm than good.
The Brocher Declaration outlines ethical concepts to steer educational exchanges, research trips and other global health activities typically done by teams from wealthy nations visiting locations considered low- or middle-income. The principles include accountability, working with cultural sensitivity, and empowering the hosts to define their needs. It also calls for capacity-building and sustainability to help chip away at global health inequities.
The 6 principles include:
1) Mutual partnership with bidirectional input and learning
2) Empowered host country and community define needs and activities
3) Sustainable programs and capacity building
4) Compliance with applicable laws, ethical standards, and code of conduct
5) Humility, cultural sensitivity, and respect for all involved
6) Accountability for actions (Prasad et al., 2022)
The ethics of the Brocher Declaration are closely aligned with the Faculty of Medicine’s existing strategic priorities in global health and internationalization. Its endorsement also builds on the development of its new Global Health Partnership Strategy, authorized by Faculty of Medicine’s leadership.
Within that partnership strategy, the Global Health Program is focusing efforts on building equitable, sustainable partnerships. They will concentrate on the depth of engagements in specific regions rather than brief ones in multiple nations.
Prasad, S., Aldrink, M., Compton, B., Lasker, J., Donkor, P., Weakliam, D., Rowthorn, V., Mantey, E., Martin, K., Omaswa, F., Benzian, H., Clagua-Guerra, E., Maractho, E., Agyire-Tettey, K., Crisp, N., & Balasubramaniam, R. (2022). Global Health Partnerships and the Brocher Declaration: Principles for Ethical Short-Term Engagements in Global Health. Annals of global health, 88(1), 31. https://doi.org/10.5334/aogh.3577