Autonomy and risk in health policy and systems research

Malu Mohan

DOI: 10.20529/IJME.2020.010


Health policy and systems research (HPSR), a critical area of public health research, aims to enhance our understanding about how health systems function and how health policies are generated and implemented. HPSR predominantly operates in “real life contexts” of communities or institutions. Such contexts significantly reduce the ability of researchers to exert the same level of control over their environment that is possible in biomedical/clinical research. A recent expert consultation led by the World Health Organisation, to explore the knowledge gap relevant to ethical review and practice of HPSR, recommends capacity building for local research ethics committees to deal with its complexities. This case presents the ethical dilemma faced by a public health researcher exploring the development of key policies governing the regulation of a specific branch of the health professions.

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