Essays on Science and SocietyGLOBAL VOICES OF SCIENCE

<H4>Also see the archival list of the Essays on Science and Society.</H4> GLOBAL VOICES OF SCIENCE: It Takes a Village: Medical Research and Ethics in Mali

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  04 Feb 2005:
Vol. 307, Issue 5710, pp. 679-681
DOI: 10.1126/science.1109773

You are currently viewing the summary.

View Full Text


The challenges to global health are vast. Malaria alone accounts for up to 500 million new cases of disease each year and for 2 to 3 million deaths, most of which occur in sub-Saharan Africa. To combat such extensive and devastating diseases, researchers need to conduct medical trials involving the diverse populations and communities that are affected. Doing that ethically and responsibly, explains malaria researcher Ogobara Doumbo of the University of Bamako in Mali, requires that investigators develop an understanding of the social and cultural subtleties that govern how different groups around the world make decisions about participating in research. Only then can the researchers feel assured that the human beings who consent to partake in their studies are fully informed about the possible risks and benefits. This is the second essay of a year-long series that celebrates 125 years of Science by inviting researchers from around the world to provide a regional view of the scientific enterprise.

All essays appearing in this series can be found online at

  • I thank all the populations that participated in the studies, the MRTC/DEAP teams and partners, and my collaborators who read and corrected the manuscript: M. A. Thera, A. A. Djimd√©, and D. A. Diallo.