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Acta bioethica

versión On-line ISSN 1726-569X


LOLAS STEPKE, Fernando. BIOETHICS AT THE PAN AMERICAN HEALTH ORGANIZATION: Origins, development, and challenges. Acta bioeth. [online]. 2006, vol.12, n.1, pp.113-119. ISSN 1726-569X.

Bioethics is the use of dialog for formulating and solving moral dilemmas posed by the progress of science and technology. Concerns about the survival of life on Earth and of the relations between medicine and the humanities were the origins of bioethical thinking. From a conceptual point of view it constitutes a social process governed by emotions, a technical procedure aimed at correct decision-making, and an academic product influencing scholarship. Since its establishment as a technical program at the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), bioethics has contributed to the training of professionals, to the establishment of committees and commissions, and to the improvement of clinical, research, and administrative practices in the countries of the Americas and the Caribbean. The Bioethics Unit has established advanced programs in five universities, promoted research and advocacy initiatives, and sponsored courses and seminars in 26 countries of the region. After an analysis of its development and evolution, this report does not recommend professionalization of bioethics and proposes further actions to train professionals and researchers, a sustained effort to educate the public, and the assurance of independence from political or economic influences for the Bioethics Unit established at PAHO. The organization should retain its voice in the moral dilemmas and continue providing not only evidence-based but also value-based knowledge to its users and all stakeholders in the health sector

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