Ethical considerations arising from National Health Measurement Surveys: with particular reference to the Australian Health Measurement Surveys

Working Paper No. 7

Published: 2003

The purpose of this paper is to identify a range of ethical considerations that may arise during the design and implementation of national health surveys that incorporate physical and biochemical measures.

These surveys are able to provide important information on the prevalence of various health conditions and distributions of physical, mental and biochemical characteristics of the population, as well as providing data on the relationship between risk factors and selected conditions, and social and environmental determinants of health. In Australia, a program of national health measurement surveys that will collect a range of measures (physical and biochemical characteristics) has been proposed, the Australian Health Measurement Survey (AHMS) program.

The ethical, legal and social issues that arise are numerous. A number of broad policy issues emerge that require further discussion. In order to ensure that survey programs are conducted within an ethical framework, these issues must be identified and discussed with communities and others, and broad agreement reached about the most appropriate ways to proceed.

Authored by PHIDU

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