A CIOMS historical report of the proceedings of the XVlllth CIOMS Round Table Conference held in Athens, Greece 29 October-2 November 1984.
The conference brought together health policymakers, health professionals, and ethicists, philosophers and theologians from 40 countries representing different cultures, ideologies, religions and traditions in order to explore the interaction of health policymaking, ethics and human values. Its programme was coordinated with the World Health Organization, whose concerns for equity, justice, community participation and the dignity of individuals in sickness and health, are expressed in the goal of health for all by the year 2000.
The conference established the ground on which was based its work by defining the role of human values and ethical issues in health policymaking. Against this background, the conference approached the problems of relating ethics and human values to health policy, using three avenues: First, it examined the practical problems of making policy decisions taking as its focus the policymaker functioning under the multiple influences and pressures to which he is subjected, but in the light of specific value systems from various cultures.
Second, it examined a series of case studies, each dealing with a policy problem of global importance, each with a range of possible ethical implications, but presented in the context of a given country with its specific response; discussions explored the full range of implications for other cultures. Third, it examined the fundamental values underlying the interaction of health policy, ethics and human values by a consideration of the meanings which life, suffering, and death hold for a number of the world’s principal religions and ideologies.