Bioethics: Awareness, attitudes and opinions among University students and Faculty/Researchers | Alam | Pakistan Journal of Medical Sciences Old Website

Bioethics: Awareness, attitudes and opinions among University students and Faculty/Researchers

Mukhtar Alam, Ziaur Rahman, Masaud Shah, Mian Sahib Zar, Sulaiman Shams, Faiz Ali, Muhammad Kazim Khan


Objective: To assess awareness, attitudes and opinions regarding bioethical issues among graduate students and faculty/researchers of universities in Lahore, Pakistan.
Methodology: A questionnaire consisting of 20 questions was designed and sent to 700 students and faculty members/researchers of 14 academic departments/research institutions of seven universities in Lahore, Pakistan. Data were analyzed with descriptive statistics using SPSS 16.0.
Results: We obtained responses from 87% (614/700) participants. The sample populations appeared receptive to latest developments in science and technology; and were optimistic that such developments will have positive effect on their lives. On average almost 90% of the respondents were familiar with the term bioethics; 75.4% of the respondents desired that bioethics should be taught regularly in the classes. However, students of two important disciplines of knowledge i.e law and Islamic studies had awareness levels of only 43% and 0% respectively regarding the term bioethics. A vast majority of the respondents were not satisfied with the state laws, policies, rules, regulations and institutions concerned with bioethical issues. The survey indicated that cloning (27.2%), abortion (24.6%) and organ donation (13.2%) are regarded as the most important bioethical issues, probably for specific reasons of the glamour attached to the technology, moral connotations and the hype created by media respectively.
Conclusion: Educated youth in general have positive attitude towards S&T and its effect on their lives. Awareness level among students and faculty of life sciences is very high; however it is dismally low among students of Law and Islamic studies. The results of this survey does not necessarily mirror the awareness level, attitudes and opinions in the society at large since literacy level among the masses is low (57%) and prevalence of higher levels of education is even lower.

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