Bioethics in Africa Theories and Praxis
This book offers a compendium of the current discourse on bioethics in Africa. The various chapters present the theoretical underpinnings, the scope, and the praxis of bioethics on the continent. The approach to bioethics envisaged by the editors of this book is a broad holistic view of the normative questions concerning human life, bios. As a result, the contents go beyond medical and research ethics to touch on environmental issues, economic imbalances, legal vacuums, and the philosophical foundations of ethics in Africa. The book came out of an exciting international conference organized by the two editors on “Bioethics: African Perspectives,” held at the University of Ghana in May 2017. The conference was jointly sponsored by the Department of Philosophy and Classics at the University of Ghana and Northern Kentucky University (USA). The conference drew philosophers, medical practitioners, environmentalists, social scientists and other academics and practitioners from various countries. The lively debates and discussions that followed the presentation of the papers made it evident that it was necessary to continue to research, publish and work towards a framework for bioethics in Africa that will resonate with the indigenous cultures, prevent abuses, and offer the necessary guarantees for a sustainable flourishing of life. The main concerns that emerged from the University of Ghana conference that this book tries to address can be summed as follows: bioethics in Africa needs a framework that reflects indigenous African perspectives and values which contrasts and challenges Western ethical and normative imperialism; the scope of bioethics in Africa needs to embrace all aspects of human activities that pose a threat to health and the environment; a framework of dialogue and collaboration is needed to bridge the theoretical and practical divide between traditional medicine, spiritual healing, and Western biomedical health care; policies and enforcement are required to ensure that lives are not sacrificed due to poverty, greed and epistemological incompatibilities; traditional customs that marginalize categories of persons need to be re-visited to offer protection to all.