Ethical Portrait of the Nigerian Health Sector – Businessday NG

Most people are familiar with the Hippocratic Oath – an oath of ethics upheld by medical doctors in almost all parts of the world. But not many are familiar with the specic ethical components health care workers are expected to uphold. Principlism is one of such ethical frameworks. It encompasses four major principles: The principle of autonomy; principle of beneficence; principle of nonmaleficence and the principle of Justice.

The principle of autonomy upholds that patients should have authority over the health intervention or care they receive. This is why in high risk interventions; health care workers have to get an express written informed consent from their patients. The principle of beneficence, on the other hand insists that health care givers must in their practice only do that which is considered of benefit to their patients’ wellbeing. Similarly, the principle of nonmaleficence stands on the proclamation of “primum non nocere” which means “first, do no harm”.


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