Chennai Statement on Bioethics, and Recommendations of the Workshop Cum Seminar on Bioethics,16-19 January, 1997

Eubios Journal of Asian and International Bioethics 7 (1997), 34.

1. Bioethics is an interdisciplinary subject including the study of environmental, ethical, legal and social issues raised by applications of biology, medicine and science. Wide interdisciplinary debate is to be encouraged.

2. We request that funding agencies be more liberal, rational and equitable in the allocation of resources.

3. In all government recognised applied science, technology and humanities departments, ethics committees should be formed which would meet at least twice a year to review all ethical issues. Hospitals should also form ethics committees to foster the process by which ethical issues will be recognized and addressed within the ordinary operation of the hospital and the community it serves. These Ethics Committees will have four functions: (1) to provide education on ethics for the hospital; (2) to facilitate communication between all persons involved in the care and treatment process; (3) to be available for consultation on difficult cases; and (4) to provide policy recommendations to the hospital.

4. An oath should be taken by the Ph.D. research scholars at the entry to, and graduation from, all Ph.D. programs. The Oath could read:

"I accept this award of the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy of ------- University in recognition of my academic endeavours in the subject of ------ proudly conscious that with this I become privileged to enter and join the group of intellectuals around the world having similar distinction. I am fully conscious and aware of, and take a solemn oath in the presence of my alma mater, peers and colleagues to discharge in every way the responsibility for exemplary moral standards, ethical conduct and unimpeachable integrity, which I shall always uphold and exhibit for scrutiny and emulation by all in society to be worthy of the honour bestowed on me by this

degree and of the responsibility which comes from the possession of expert knowledge. Sd/-

In the presence of : Place, date etc. can be filled up as desired.

5. Bioethics should be taught at all educational institutions starting from primary level.

6. An Indian Society of Bioethics is to be formed with an executive committee consisting of a Chair and nine members elected by the membership. The executive committee should include members from diverse specialties and departments.

7. This Society will publish a journal in bioethics.

8. The participants resolved to seek government support and publicity for an annual "Ethics Awareness Day". The date and month to be decided by the committee for the Bioethics Society.

9. The Medical Council of India may be approached for the evaluation of Health Care Ethics and teaching of Ethics in Medical Schools.

10. The Hippocratic Oath or a similar Oath is to be administered to students at the time of joining and passing out (graduation) a Medical School Institution so that the real spirit of the oath can be understood and observed by medical students and staff.

11. Nursing should be recognised as a profession. Nursing Council of India to be approached for evaluation of teaching and practice of patient care ethics in Nursing Profession.

12. In animal experimentation the judicious minimum and humane use of animals is to be practiced. Formulation of guidelines for schools and college teachers is to be undertaken.

13. The rights of indigenous people, the ecology of rural areas, bioethical management of the coastal zones, and knowledge of indigenous fisherpeople and farmers of their ecosystems must be respected, protected and documented.

14. A comparative study of religions with special reference to values is basic to developing ethics at the grass root level and when this can grow steadily, shall help in eliminating unethical acts by human beings.

15. Annual seminars with wide national publicity and rigorous selection of papers will be conducted. In January 1998 these are planned at Salem, Mangalore, Ahmednager and New Delhi.

16. It was resolved to hold the next International Conference on Bioethics during early 1999 at the University of Madras, Chennai.

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