Ethical principles for promoting health research data sharing with sub-Saharan Africa
Developing world bioethics
Pages / Article-Number
data sharing; fairness; global South; health research; inequities; sub-Saharan Africa; systemic challenges
A powerful feature of global health research is data-sharing with regions which bear the heaviest burden of disease. It offers novel opportunities for aggregating data to address critical global health challenges in ways higher than relying on individual studies. Yet there exist important stratifiers of the capacity to share data, particularly across the Global North-South divide. Systemic challenges that characterize sub-Saharan Africa and disadvantage the region's scientific productivity threaten the burgeoning data-sharing culture too. Like all endeavors requiring equal commitments under unequal circumstances, a strong ethical impetus is needed to help reduce inequities and imbalances to encourage adherence. This article discusses mandatory data-sharing in relation to peculiar challenges faced by sub-Saharan African scientists to suggest ethical principles for rethinking and reframing solutions. We propose six principles which mirror guidelines from the Institute of Medicine and encapsulate principles from the Emanuel Framework, Nairobi Data Sharing Principles, and the COHRED guidelines.