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Taboos and clinical research in West Africa.
  1. O O Ajayi


    Moral principles or the rules of conduct are based in the society. If the purpose of ethics in research is to take into consideration the needs and the rights of the experimental subject, his social milieu must then largely determine the ethical considerations of a projected study. The inability to comprehend such rights may often be due to ignorance, disease and his societal values. Blood letting, biopsy and post-mortem examinations may so conflict with local beliefs that so called 'consent' to these is much more than a surrender of the rights of the individual. It is difficult to conform with the highest principles of ethics in research in any uniform society. It is more so when the many variables are further complicated by cultural demands and social taboos. The best custodians of ethical standards must relate intimately with the norms of the local population.

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