The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has contained the morbidity and mortality risks associated with the Covid-19 Coronavirus pandemic because of the enactment of stringent policies and laws. The UAE enacted both legal policies and ethical strategies aimed at preventing the spread of the disease in the country upon the outbreak and international spread of the novel Covid-19 diseases. The UAE government, on 23rd March 2020 enacted a stay at home public policy that was immediately implemented by the nation’s security apparatus the Supreme Council for National Security (“UAE Suspends All Inbound, Outbound Passenger Flights, Transit of Airline Passengers for Two Weeks.”). The decree stated that other than the essential staff, citizens, and people staying in the UAE stay at home and avoid visiting public places. It also held that all people in the UAE should maintain social distancing protocols and a maximum of three individuals are currently allowed to travel in a single car. On the same day, the UAE enacted a policy suspending all transit of airline passengers to and from the country for two weeks (“UAE Suspends All Inbound, Outbound Passenger Flights, Transit of Airline Passengers for Two Weeks.”). The policy came to action after 48 hours of its enactment and was implemented by the General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA). However, it also exempted the transportation of essential services, such as foodstuff and medical aid.
The UAE government also put in place ethical strategies aimed at preventing the spread of Covid-19 in the country. On 23rd March 2020, the UAE government suspended prayers in all places of worship in the country. The government’s direction targeted the congregation of Islam faithful in mosques and the holy city of Mecca. In the country, being an Islamic, millions of faithful Muslims throng mosques and the holy city of Mecca for their daily spiritual nourishment and the crowding is a huge risk factor for the spread of COVID-19 (“UAE Suspends All Inbound, Outbound Passenger Flights, Transit of Airline Passengers for Two Weeks.”). The ban on spiritual worship and congregation was aimed at limiting the spread of the novel COVID-19 disease among the millions of Islam believers in the country. Moreover, the UAE government, also on 23rd March 2020, issued an ethical directive banning the strategic stocking of food commodities (“UAE Suspends All Inbound, Outbound Passenger Flights, Transit of Airline Passengers for Two Weeks.”). The mentioned move was motivated by ending the massive shopping spree that had rocked the nation upon confirmation of the first cases of COVID-19 in the country. UAE’s public health officials advised the government to ban stockpiling or stocking of food in the country to ensure that all individuals, whether poor or rich, could have equitable access to food and essential products, such as toilet paper (“UAE Suspends All Inbound, Outbound Passenger Flights, Transit of Airline Passengers for Two Weeks.”). The prohibition of strategic stocking of food was aimed at preventing the rich from buying all essential food provisions at the disadvantage of the poor. The ban on food stockpiling has helped mitigate a humanitarian crisis of hunger in the UAE as food is rationed equitable for all citizens.
The mentioned legal and ethical strategies have contributed massively to the containment of the spread of the Covid-19 disease in the UAE. The two laws have controlled both internal and foreign infections of the disease since they have limited social interaction, which is key to the spread of Covid-19 (Webster). Indeed, without close interactions, the cycle of infection is broken. The ethical provision of suspending prayers in all places of worship in the UAE helped enforce the provisions of the two laws on matters of social distancing. It specifically contributed to the minimization of the internal spread of the Covid-19 disease in the UAE. The ban on food stockpiling has ensured that citizens of the UAE are able to comfortably stay indoors knowing that food and other essential products will be available upon need.
Listeria is one of the most serious foodborne diseases in the world, but it is treatable. Although the condition is preventable and treatable, pregnant women, the elderly, and individuals with a weakened immune system are at the greatest risk of succumbing from the disease (World Health Organization). the disease is caused by the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes, which is mostly found in with foods with a long shelf-life under refrigeration, and is also prevalent in foods that are consumed without further treatment or cooking, such as cheese (World Health Organization). WHO’s research indicates that listeria is most prevalent in milk and meat products, such as minced meat and cheese, respectively. The 2017-2018 listeria infection outbreak in South Africa, which caused more than 200 deaths, remains the largest listeria one in the world (World Health Organization). The South African Listeria outbreak was attributed to meat products infected by listeria causing bacteria.
Food safety practices are essential in the reduction of infection and transmission of listeria infections. These measures minimize the chances of food products being infected by Listeria monocytogenes, which is quite resistant to low temperatures as it can survive up to temperatures of 4 degrees Celsius. The WHO, in collaboration with other international organizations, has come up with numerous steps and policies that regulate food safety to curb foodborne diseases, such as listeria. Most milk products such as cheese, ghee, and yogurt are made using unpasteurized milk to preserve organic cultures that help in the coagulation of milk. However, according to the WHO, the bacterium that make up the organic cultures can cause serious infectious diseases, such as listeriosis, brucellosis, and salmonellosis (World Health Organization). The banning of the sale of unpasteurized milk and products made from it, such as cheese, is an essential ethical food safety practice in the fight against listeria (World Health Organization). Pasteurization kills the Listeria monocytogenes that cause the disease listeria, however, some food companies argue that pasteurization also kills some important bacteria essential in cheese making (World Health Organization). While the mentioned argument holds water, unpasteurized milk is a lead factor in the spread of listeria thus the banning of its sale is the moral decision to be made.
The UAE government, in 2018, enacted the National Food Accreditation and Registration System in 2018 to minimize the spread of the South Africa listeriosis outbreak in the nation. The National Food Accreditation and Registration System (2018) serves as an integrated smart platform for food product data (Todd and Pérez-Rodríguez). Moreover, the body enables the UAE government to trace and track the source of its food imports before they are released for local consumption. The piece of legislation also provides legal background for the thorough analysis of food products entering the UAE from South Africa. Indeed, the policy minimized the entry and spread of listeria in the UAE as food imports from South Africa suspected to be contaminated by listeriosis was rejected.
The Federal Decree-Law No. (5) Of 2016 on Regulation of Human Organs and Tissue Transplantation is a UAE legislation aimed at curbing illegal organ trafficking in the country. The act was enacted by His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the president of the UAE, to provide a legal mechanism for curbing organ trafficking, which was prevalent in the country. Section 5 (1) of the Federal Decree prohibits the illegal buying and selling of human organs and bans the performance of all surgeries aimed at transplanting human organs. The provisions of the Federal Decree are aimed at minimizing illegal organ trafficking which was rife in the UAE due to the high demand for human body organs to (Mohammad). Section 5(3) bans the advertisement, promotion, and brokerage for unlicensed operations of the whole or part of any human organ while section 5(4) bans the financing of surgeries aimed at extraction of transplantation of human organs. Section 1(8) of the Federal Decree-Law No. (5) defines death as the complete departure of life from the body when the heartbeat and breathing have ceased completely and the physicians decide that such cessation is irreversible or when all the functions of the brain have irreversibly ceased (Mohammad). This definition of death allows for organs of deceased individuals to be transplanted to individuals in need of them (Chaudhary). According to Chaudhary, individuals in the UAE are urged to sign living wills indicating their wish to donate their organs upon their death. According to the Federal Decree-Law No. (5) Of 2016, a living will provide the legal mechanisms for transplanting organs from a deceased individual to a living person in need of an organ transplant. This is a landmark law that will massively increase the number of legal donations in the UAE and reduce the illegal ones and therefore improve the quality of lives of numerous individuals.
Kidney and other organ transplantation in the UAE are based on the ethical criteria of care ethics, which ensures that both the philosophies of equity and utility are balanced. Care ethics is a normative ethical theory that strikes a balance between morality and decision making (Chaudhary). In other words, the concept is concerned with maintaining relationships by contextualizing and promoting the well-being of both caregivers and care-receivers within a specific network of social relations (Chaudhary). Moreover, it mostly applied in health situations where the principles of equity and utility are at stake. Organ transplantation in the UAE is based on the care ethics. Therefore, individuals in urgent need of organ transplantation in the UAE are given priority save their lives. This ethical principle, with regard to organ transplants, is practiced in the UAE through a health application that determines the urgency of a required organ transplant (Chaudhary). The health application, therefore, enables all the medical resources available in the UAE to be focused on treating and saving the lives of the most critical of patients.
For one to qualify for an organ transplant in the UAE he or she has to register in the national organ application system called Hayat, which was created by the Ministry of Health and Prevention and contains a list of potential organ donors and recipients since 2018 (Mohammad). The application also indicates how critical the medical conditions of these patients are. Moreover, the Hayat app is based on a system care ethics where it identifies and matches organ donors with recipients who are in a critical state and urgent need of organ transplant to ensure that the philosophies of equity and utility are followed in the process of an organ transplant (Chaudhary). Indeed, the Hayat system based on care ethics facilitates the philosophy of fairness in matters organ transplants in the UAE as individuals in need are provided with care without any form of discrimination (Chaudhary). On utility, the Hayat app enables individuals in need of organs to legally receive organ transplants at a reasonable cost with the bulk of the organ transplantation cost being borne by the government. The Hayat app is also useful to the UAE government as it has reduced the illegal trafficking of human organs in the country.
The Paris Agreement is concerned with the reduction of air pollution, global warming, and greenhouse gases in the environment. The Paris Agreement on Climate Change (2016) is aimed at addressing the issue of global air pollution that is responsible for global warming, millions of deaths annually, and climate change (UNFCCC). The accord specifically targets the issue of emission of carbon gasses, which are responsible for the death of millions globally through respiratory diseases. Greenhouse gases that are emitted to the universe in large quantities by industries lead to the formation of smog and fog that causes respiratory problems in both humans and animals (UNFCCC). The Paris Agreement requires all nations to cut down their carbon-emission rates to reduce the number of greenhouse gases being emitted to the atmosphere (UNFCCC). Moreover, the Paris Agreement requires members of the international community of nations to enact policies and legislations that foster sustainability in their respective countries. The WHO, a key partner in the Paris Agreement, holds that successful implementation of the treaty will result in massive gains for the global public health sector.
Global warming and climate change are huge threats to global health and the enactment of the accord could reduce the prevalence of these threats. According to the WHO, these two environmental issues have led to serious public health issues that need to be promptly addressed by the community of nations (UNFCCC). The Paris Agreement on Climate Change (2016) will provide several public health benefits if implemented property. For example, this deal will reduce the number of global respiratory infections by 40% if all the countries apply it as intended. Per the WHO, more than 7 million people globally are affected by respiratory diseases due to air pollution (UNFCCC). As such, the global enactment of the Paris Accord will save millions of lives annually. Implementation of the Paris Accord will result in a reduction in the number of premature deaths in the world as it will help lower the global temperatures. The WHO estimates that more than 4.5 million premature deaths due to the increase in global temperatures caused by climate change are recorded in the world (UNFCCC). Therefore, the full implementation of the Paris Agreement will prevent these deaths.
Global health ethics in matters of medical research, such as drug trials, is important in preserving lives and limiting unscrupulous drug trials that target developing nations. Global health ethical practices that regulate the use of human subjects in drug-trials prevent dishonest drug companies from testing their drugs on the vast illiterate and powerless masses of the Third World countries. Numerous cases of multinational companies exploit the financial need and illiteracy of Third World countries to perform drug tests on their citizens. A good example is the Kano Pfizer drug test that led to the death of tens of children in Nigeria in 1996 (John 2). Regardless of the numerous contemporary ethical and legal rules that have been put in place to limit drug testing by multinational corporations in Third World countries illegal drug tests continue to be performed on the poor and uneducated. In 2009, Merck conducted unscrupulous tests of the Human Papilloma Vaccine (HPV) in India. The vaccine test led to the death of tens of children in India with thousands being hospitalized (John 4). The numerous loopholes on drug testing in developing countries call for the enactment of tight ethical and legal limitations to human drug-testing.
Several ethical practices limit the process of drug studies more so among human subjects. The most relevant ethical codes regulate drug testing on humans are found in the bio-ethical provisions of the Nuremberg Code, The Declaration of Helsinki, and The Belmont Report (John 3). The three codes agitate for respect and safeguarding of human life in the entire process of the drug-test. All the bio-ethics above also provide that all human subjects involved in any drug study have to be informed of the possible effects of the drug trial (John 3). A drug trial can only be commenced on a human being after he or she has given voluntary and informed consent for the trial while fully aware of the consequences (John 3). The Nuremberg provision on bio-ethics also holds that any drug-trial has to be regulated and approved by local health officials. This is usually a process that is undermined by major multinational corporations that do not involve local health officials when conducting drug-tests in developing nations. According to John, most multi-national companies unscrupulously exploit the weak legal and ethical regulations with regard to drug tests in developing countries to perform drug tests on the poor and uninformed (4). The Belmont Report on bioethics also holds that an immoral committee needs to approve the morality of the planned drug trial before the testing is rolled out. The ethical committee should be provided with adequate data on the drugs to be tested and should be given access to all the tests being conducted to ensure that the drug-testing institution follows both the national and international ethical and legal provisions that are required in the testing of new drugs to humans (John 4). According to John, most international bodies, however, interfere with the practices of the ethical committees through corruption to ensure that they get away with their illegal drug tests (5). Corruption and other vices have led to the continuous use of people from developing countries mostly in Africa and Asia as guinea pigs by multinational drug companies.
The World Health Organization also has several regulations and policies that protect people from developing countries from being used as guinea pigs in crooked drug tests. The WHO Global Surveillance and Monitoring System, which was published in 2017, is a key policy that regulates drug testing in developing countries such as Africa. The Global Surveillance and Monitoring System also checks the veracity of drugs and vaccines made by multinational companies before their use and distribution in the developing nations (John 5). The WHO, together with other international bodies in the sphere of global public health, therefore, plays a significant role in protecting the poor and illiterate masses from exploitation by unscrupulous drug companies.
Chaudhary, Suchitra Bajpai. “How UAE Organ Transplants Impact Lives.” Health – Gulf News, Gulf News, 2 Feb. 2020, gulfnews.com/uae/health/how-uae-organ-transplants-impact-lives-1.69047152
John, Ohiolei A. Ethical Issues: Trovan (Trovafloxacin) Drug Trials on Children with Meningitis in Kano State, Nigeria, 2015, https://fqresearch.org/pdf_files/trovan_nigeria_ethics_review.pdf
Mohammad, Jabber. “Federal Decree-Law No. (5) of 2016 On Regulation of Human Organs and Tissue Transplantation.” Academia.edu, www.academia.edu/29133874/Federal_Decree-Law_No._5_of_2016_On_Regulation_of_Human_Organs_and_Tissue_Transplantation
Todd, Ewen C. D., and Fernando Pérez-Rodríguez. “Special Issue ‘Food-Borne Disease Prevention and Risk Assessment’.” International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 2019, www.mdpi.com/journal/ijerph/special_issues/food_borne_disease_prevention_risk_assessment.
UNFCCC. “WHO: Health Benefits Far Outweigh Costs of Meeting Paris Goals.” UNFCCC, 5 Dec. 2018, unfccc.int/news/who-health-benefits-far-outweigh-costs-of-meeting-paris-goals.
“UAE Government Calls upon Public to Stay Home except for Absolute Necessity.” Wam, WAM, 22 Apr. 2020, wam.ae/en/details/1395302832349
“UAE Suspends All Inbound, Outbound Passenger Flights, Transit of Airline Passengers for Two Weeks.” Wam, WAM, 22 Apr. 2020, wam.ae/en/details/1395302832346
Webster, Nick. “Coronavirus: UAE Ranks Sixth on Global Scale of Covid-19 Testing.” The National, The National, 5 Apr. 2020, www.thenational.ae/UAE/health/coronavirus-UAE-ranks-sixth-on-global-scale-of-COVID-19-testing-1.999092
World Health Organization. Listeriosis. 20 Feb. 2018, www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/listeriosis