Ethics of Health Systems Research

The overall goal of this thematic working group is to initiate critical thinking on the ethics of health systems research in low and middle-income countries in order to inform health systems strengthening efforts around the world.


The Ethics of Health Systems Research Thematic Working Group (TWG) aims to explore what ethical issues arise in relation to health systems research in low and middle-income countries, how they should be addressed, and by whom. The TWG is Co-Chaired by Sassy Molyneux and Dorcas Kamuya, both from Oxford University.

Coming up!

The Ethics TWG will hold an open meeting for TWG members and anyone else interested in joining the TWG on Monday July 17 at 12:30 pm in the Keble College Dining Hall at Oxford University (United Kingdom). At the meeting, plans for future activities in 2017 and 2018 will be discussed. Please email Bridget Pratt if you are interested in attending.


  • To build awareness of and interest in the wide range of ethics guidance and literature that is potentially relevant to HSG members.

  • To identify ethical dilemmas experienced over the course of funding, planning, conducting, disseminating, and reviewingdiverse forms of HPSR.

  • To share ideas on how relevant ethical theories and principles might be applied to support practice and contribute to guidance for HPSR stakeholders.

  • To contribute scholarly work to the global discourse on health systems ethics and HPSR ethics, especially in LMIC.

  • To help develop capacity for ethics analysis and review of HPSR within low and middle-income countries.


Thematic working group activities include hosting webinars, workshops, meetings at bioethics and global health conferences, conference panels, and Google Group discussions.

Recently held activities include:

  • An oral presentation on Building the field: Developing networks to support ethics research and practice for health policy and systems research (HPSR) in sub-Saharan Africa at the 2017 Oxford Global Health and Bioethics Conference in Oxford, UK.

  • A webinar launching a Special Issue of Developing World Bioethics on health systems research ethics in May 2017:

  • A scientific session on The ethics of health systems research priority-setting at the 2016 Health Systems Research Symposium in Vancouver Canada.

  • A 2015 workshop in Oxford (UK) at the University of Oxford focused on the ethics of health research priority-setting.

Group facilitators

  • Sassy Molyneux

  • Dorcas Kamuya

  • Dr. Bridget Pratt

    Vice Chair
  • Hayley MacGregor

  • Freddy Kitutu


The Ethics of Health Systems Research in Low and Middle-income Countries

A Special Issue of Developing World Bioethics Special Issue was published in December 2016, Guest Edited by Professor Adnan A. Hyder and Dr. Paul Ndebele. The Special Issue contains papers on the topic of The Ethics of Health Systems Research in Low and Middle-income Countries.

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