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Option 4 is a good idea as well. Supporting Almaz is not just a matter of referring her for help at the health centre. She will need ongoing help and needs to know that her Health Extension Practitioner is willing to offer this support in a comforting and confidential manner. Case Study 7. It also raises a number of issues about autonomy and informed consent which you will learn about next.

What is meant by the term ethics?

Autonomy is another ethical principle that you may already be aware of, but not know by that name. For example, in Case Study 7. However, there are conditions in which that personal choice or autonomy may be restricted because of concern for the wellbeing of the community. For instance, if a communicable disease, such as tuberculosis, is diagnosed, clients can be required to take prescribed medication and may have to be isolated to prevent the spread of the infectious agent to others.

Informed consent means that each person who has any sort of procedure done to them in a healthcare context should give their approval for that procedure to be done to them. In order to be fully informed, it is the duty of the healthcare worker to tell the person exactly what the procedure will involve as well as the things that might happen if the procedure is not carried out. In Case Study 7. There is an ethical obligation on Chaltu, her Health Extension Practitioner, to explain to Almaz what will happen at the health centre, but also the possible consequences if she does not attend.

Which of the following healthcare procedures that might be undertaken by a Health Extension Practitioner require informed consent? Procedures b. The Health Extension Practitioner should explain the procedure to their patient on each occasion and be prepared to answer their questions and concerns. If the patient is under the age of consent, the parents have to give their informed consent. Constructing a new latrine or supplying ITNs are important parts of the preventive work of every Health Extension Practitioner, but do not require such a degree of informed consent. However, even these preventive activities need to be explained so that they will be adopted by members of the community.

Informed consent is implied in much of the work that Health Extension Practitioners do. In other words if a mother brings her child to the Health Post to be immunized, informed consent is necessary because the Health Extension Practitioner is performing a procedure that has benefits, but may also have side-effects. However, the act of bringing the child for the procedure implies consent, as does attending for a contraceptive injection Figure 7. But Health Extension Practitioners should always explain what they are doing and how it impacts on individuals, their families and the wider community.

Introduction to Ethical Concepts

In this section you will be able to learn about two important ethical concepts which may be new to you, but which are relevant for your practice. These are called beneficence and nomaleficence. From your own experience of receiving or witnessing health services at community level, can you suggest some examples of health interventions that demonstrate beneficence by health workers?

As you have seen in Case Study 7. Moreover, you cannot always avoid doing harm to a client; for instance, in times when a communicable disease arises in your vicinity, you may have to suggest isolating individuals with the infection against their will to contain the spread of the disease and for the good of the majority. In Sections 7. In this final section, you will be able to learn about the concept of justice , which is an important concept that will help you during your interaction with individuals, families and communities at large.

Justice is a complex ethical principle and it entails fairness, equality and impartiality; in other words, it is the obligation to be fair to all people.

Most Health Extension Practitioners will understand about justice without necessarily having come across the word itself. The concept of justice will become clearer if you understand the meaning of two categories of justice: distributive justice and social justice. Distributive justice means that individuals have the right to be treated equally regardless of ethnic group, gender, culture, age, marital status, medical diagnosis, social standing, economic level, political or religious beliefs, or any other individual characteristics.

Everyone should be treated in the same way. Social justice is based on the application of equitable rights to access and participation in all aspects of goods and services provided in a society, regardless of their individual characteristics. Everyone should have access to the same things that might improve their health.

Thick Ethical Concepts (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)

As a Health Extension Practitioner, you will be able to carry out distributive and social justice by enabling the inclusion and empowerment of all people living within your area to exercise their rights Figure 7. You can understand the concept of justice from the examples in Case Study 7. Example 2: Another Health Extension Practitioner is working in a community which is spread out over a large rural area. She is too lazy to go to the farthest homes to invite them to participate in an environmental sanitation campaign.

Look at the two examples in Case Study 7. Are these examples where social justice or distributive justice is not being carried out? In both these examples justice is not being carried out.

It is not fair that someone gets poorer services because they come from a particular family that is in dispute with the Health Extension Practitioner lack of social justice or live too far away lack of distributive justice to be included in preventive health activities. If you are not fair to individuals and community groups in your vicinity while practising your profession, you will not be able to gain public trust and this will negatively affect your practice. As a Health Extension Practitioner you should be fair and maintain high ethical standards at all times, including confidentiality and truthfulness towards all your clients equally.

However, as some of the examples in this study session have shown, you will be faced with dilemmas that are difficult to resolve in harmony with the concepts of respecting autonomy and informed consent, and reconciling the demands of beneficence and nonmaleficence. In Study Session 8 there will be further examples of ethical dilemmas for you to think about and learn from. Now that you have completed this study session, you can assess how well you have achieved its Learning Outcomes by answering the following questions.

You can check your answers with the Notes on the Self-Assessment Questions at the end of this Module.


Why do you think it is important for health workers to stick to the ethical principles of confidentiality and truthfulness at all times? As a Health Extension Practitioner working in a community, you should always work towards building up community trust. If you are not trustworthy, individuals will keep away from your services for fear that their private issues will be disclosed. This has the potential to severely affect your practice. Informed consent is providing your client with information that enables them to decide or take an informed decision before you undertake any healthcare procedures on your client.

For instance, you need to obtain informed consent from each pregnant mother who comes for antenatal care before you do any interventions. Can you give an example of beneficence and an example of nonmalefience that a Health Extension Practitioner might demonstrate? A practical example might be providing focused antenatal care to a pregnant mother. Nonmaleficence is an ethical principle which reflects both the idea of not inflicting intentional harm, and not engaging in actions that risk harming others. Skip to content.

Basics of ethics. Materials Welcome! Though moral standards are something which goes beyond the legal requirements, some of them are ascertained by the legal system. There are various laws against fraudulence, stealing, killing, sexual harassment, and so on. Many big companies have been fined a large amount of money for following unethical business practices.

Unethical business practices go far beyond functions breaking the law. Many renowned companies are engaged in unethical and questionable practices without breaking any laws.

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They follow practices just to increase their profits ignoring the rights of the consumers, such as, giving less in quantity or quality, selling old or low-quality products with free gifts, etc. The businesses have to make a profit but not at the cost of moral or ethical values. Businesses are ethically responsible for their activities as individuals are responsible for theirs.

The entitlement of moral or ethical rights implies that others have particular duties towards the person bearing the right. Negative rights enforce duties on other people not to interfere in your activities which are right for or important to you. For example, your right to make your own decisions or right to express your own opinion about anything.

Positive rights generate duties on others to give something to the person bearing the right.

Is There A Difference Between Ethics And Morality In Business?

They state that others must contribute some benefits to the bearer of the right. For example, education, you have the right to educate yourself. If you are eligible to get yourself admitted to a varsity to get an education on a specific subject or do a specific course, the varsity has to provide you the benefit of education. The concepts of justice are based on ethical principles that determine just means of allocating benefits and burdens to all people of the society.

Ethics and Morals – An Analogy with a Car Driver and an Automobile Engineer

The following beliefs are utilized to distribute the benefits and burdens in a just or fair way to the people of the society.