Karachi Bioethics Group Meetings 2007

Host of the Year 2007 – Centre of Biomedical Ethics & Culture (CBEC), SIUT

The KBG was hosted by CBEC-SIUT this year. The year was marked by a review and refinement of the objectives and terms of reference of KBG. A new emphasis was added to the role of KBG as an advocate of teaching ethics to medical students as an integral part of their learning. In one meeting, the group discussed the idea of teaching and learning bioethics through art and literature. This concept was introduced with the help of two paintings by 20th-century artists “TB Harlem” by Alice Neel, and “Portrait of Rocco and His Son” by Renato Guttoso. Members were asked to reflect on these and express their impressions. There was a great response from the audience to the idea of exposing medical students and trainees to various art forms to improve their power of observation and to encourage “out of the box” thinking.

In another session, the group noted with concern the increasing instances of plagiarism being reported from universities in Pakistan. This issue had been picked up by the lay press after the Higher Education Commission (HEC) had asked a university to act against faculty members who had been charged with plagiarism. It was reported that the University in question was unwilling to follow HEC directives and was keen to let the offending faculty go with little more than a reprimand. A press release was submitted about the position of KBG unanimously endorsing the initiative by HEC against plagiarism. KBG urged all institutions to develop a policy on plagiarism and develop mechanisms for its implementation. This press release was published in the Daily Business Recorder and The News.

In another meeting, the group also discussed the newly promulgated Human Organ and Tissue Transplantation Ordinance 2007, noting its strengths and weaknesses. The group expressed concerns about the flawed process of selection of donors which would add to the vulnerability of female donors.

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