The Bioethics Network on Women’s Issues in the Arab region is initiated by UNESCO Cairo Office and experts in the region in view of opening a dialogue on ethical issues surrounding women’s health and welfare in the Arab region and to establish a network among experts and institutions working on these issues in the region and outside the region. Urgent issues to be addressed will be recognized and the activities to promote bioethics in women’s healthcare should be encouraged in the region.

You will find on this blog, articles from different authors, as well as comments and discussion about bioethic issues. You can also find precise information about the network and its contributors in the network page and about the role of UNESCO. Every article posted on this blog is classified by topics, to facilitate browsing. You will find the main article feed on this page, under this post.

Have a good reading.

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Board of the Network selects the Chairperson and Co-Chairpersons

On 16 October 2016, Board members composed of country focal points and the secretariat met in Cairo and discussed the structure and function of the BiNWIAR.
They reviewed activities of the network carried out since 2011, discussed the way to improve the visibility and to strengthen regional and international cooperation and finally discussed the plan of future activities.

The board also agreed to add new functions of the network and selected one Chairperson and two Co-chairpersons.
Dr Thalia Arawi from Lebanon was selected as the first Chairperson of the BiNWIAR, Dr Manal Bouhaimed from Kuwait and Dr Bahaa Darwish from Egypt were selected as Co-Chairperons.

Shortly the statutes of the network including the role and function of chairpersons and co-chairpersons will be finalized.file-10-20-16-12-25-27-pm


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Dr Sara A. Hanafy

Pharmacist, Public Health Specialist, PhD candidate, Department of Epidemiology, High Institute of Public Health, Alexandria University, Egypt.

Dr Sara would like to share her study that was done for the fulfillment of her Master degree in Public Health (MPH) at the High Institute of Public Health, Alexandria University.

Drug use (DU) in pregnancy is a global public health concern in both developed and developing countries. Concern about the safety of drugs prescribed to pregnant women has been increasingly evident since the thalidomide tragedy in the 1960s. Pregnant women consume drugs including prescription and non-prescription (OTC) medications as well as herbal products and dietary supplements. A cross-sectional study was carried out among 600 pregnant women in Alexandria, Egypt, in the duration 2012 – 2015 to assess the magnitude and pattern of DU during pregnancy. Medications taken by pregnant women were evaluated based on the pregnancy risk classification system of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The FDA risk classification (A, B, C, D, or X) was assigned to individual medications. Category A (adequate and well-controlled human studies have failed to demonstrate a risk to the fetus), category B (animal reproduction studies have failed to demonstrate a risk to the fetus and there are no adequate controlled studies in humans), category C (animal reproduction studies have shown an adverse effect on the fetus and there are no adequate controlled studies in humans), category D (positive evidence of human fetal risk is confirmed), and category X (studies in animals or humans have demonstrated fetal abnormalities). The main findings revealed a high prevalence (96.3%) of DU during pregnancy. The proportion of prescribed-only- medications (POM) was 95.6%, compared to only 4.4% over-the-counter (OTC) medications. Category B medications (41.3%), 30.2% unclassified, 15.0% category C, 12.1% category A, 0.9% category X and 0.5% category D. Most commonly used medications were for GIT disorders (25.3%). The majority of respondents (88.0%) took supplements and a relatively high prevalence (41.8%) of herbal intake was observed with 56.3% of herbs consumed in the first trimester. In conclusion, the study highlighted an irrational prescribing trend of drugs during pregnancy. The prevalence of teratogenic medications of category D and X is of concern even if it is low. High herbal use especially in first trimester warrants special attention.

The study was published in the European Journal of Pharmaceutical and Medical Research. http://ejpmr.com/admin/assets/article_issue/1471588142.pdf

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Conference on Equity in Access to Quality Health Care Service and Information 9 April


In celebration of the International Women’s Day, a conference on “Equity in Access to Quality Health Care Service and Information” will be organized at Al Azhar University on 9 April 2016 in cooperation with the International Islamic Center for Population Studies and Research (IICPSR), UNESCO Cairo Office, the Academy of Scientific Research and Technology in Egypt, National Commission for UNESCO, and the Salim El-Hoss Bioethics & Professionalism Program (SHBPP) of the American University of Beirut.

The conference will discuss ethical challenges of equity in health care, informed consent issues for women, religious perspectives on ethics of health care and bioethics education in medical schools. Bioethics experts from Beirut, Egypt, religious leaders and policy makers are expected to give presentations. This conference will be organized in support of the Bioethics Network for Women’s Issues in the Arab Region (BiNWIAR).

Working language of the conference is Arabic.

If you are interested to attend, please write to (sme@sti.sci.eg).

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International Women’s Day Celebration At Ain Shams University

Poster Ain ShamsTo celebrate the International Women’s Day, UNESCO will organize in cooperation with the Academy of Scientific Research and Technology in Egypt, National Commission for UNESCO and universities a series of conferences to promote Bioethics and Rights of Women. The first conference will be held at Ain Shams University in Cairo on 9 March 2016.
The title of conference is “Bioethical Challenges related to women” that will discuss ethical challenges in doctor patient relationship, informed consent issues, ethical issues pertaining victims of gender based violence and bioethical education in medical schools.

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International Women’s Day 2016

On the occasion of the International Women’s Day, Qatar University in cooperation with the Protection and Social Rehabilitation Center will organize an event “Empowering Women for What You Deserve” on 8 March 2016. Dr Khalid Al Ali, Associate Vice President for Faculty Affairs Qatar University, a board member of BiNWIAR will present the mission and the work of BiNWIAR during the event.

IWD 2016 Qatar

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Celebration of the International Women’s Day at El Sawy CulturalWheel

on 7 March, as a part of the series of celebration for the International Women’s Day in Egypt, Dr Sanaa Batros, a board member of BiNWIAR from Egypt participated in an event organized by the El Sawy Culturalwheel and gave a speech on “Research and development and the need to work within international ethical guidelines”.

During the event, several experts spoke about women’s health related issues and media image of women in Egypt. After the talks, Zumba and Wendo workshops heated up the participants.

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Celebration of the International Women’s Day

8 March is the International Women’s Day and many events are planned during the whole month of March across the region to discuss challenges that women are facing in the Arab region and promote the BiNWIAR.

Please share any activities that you have for celebration of the International Women’s Day in relation to issues that we are addressing in our network.


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Regional Conference “Bioethics Issues for Women: Ethics of Reproductive Health – Social and Political Conditions in Arab Countries”

On 8 February 2014, a regional conference on “Bioethics Issus for Women: Ethics of reproductive health – Social and political conditions in Arab countries” will be organized in Beirut as the first regional activity of the Network after the establishment of the advisory board. During the conference, experts from Algeria, Bahrain, Kuwait, Lebanon, Palestine, Syria, Sudan and Tunisia will give a presentation on challenges surrounding women with regard to reproductive health in their countries. On this occasion, the first advisory board meeting of the BiNWIAR will be held as well in order to adopt a road map of the network to translate various issues identified during the conference into concrete actions.

Bio_ Issues

For more information, please go to:
                  For registration, please email cme@aub.edu.lb or ba45@aub.edu.lb
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BiNWIAR has its logo designed by young talented Eng. Basma Darwish

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Call for Short Stories

Doctors tell their Personal Stories with Patients from a Humanitarian Perspective


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