The ZIKA Outbreak – Parallels, Lessons and Way Forward?

Tuesday 12 July 2016, 8.45 - 17.30

The Leopold Hotel, 2 Leopold St, Leopold Square, Sheffield S1 2GZ

In recent months Zika has shocked the world with its rapid growth and its association with the occurrence of foetal malformations and neurological disorders in newborns, supported by new clinical and epidemiological research. Zika is the first vector-borne virus that appears to cause infection in foetuses, the first reliably spread by sexual transmission. The geographical distribution of Zika virus has steadily widened since the virus was first detected in the Americas in 2014 and has now been reported in nearly 40 countries and territories of this region. In February 2016 the WHO declared the Zika outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern, recently also applied to the outbreaks of Ebola (2014) and polio (2014).

In response to this global health emergency the Sheffield Institute of Biotechnology Law (SIBLE), in collaboration with the Sheffield Institute of International Development (SIID), SHaAR, and the Department of Politics are organising an interdisciplinary Workshop to discuss the legal, social, political, and economic challenges that arise in this context and require urgent attention. The Workshop aims to facilitate interdisciplinary discussion between lawyers, public health and global health experts, political and social scientists, and economists to address the three main themes outlined below. Furthermore, the Workshop constitutes the first step in establishing an international Working Group on critical approaches to global health. It aims to lay the basis for a funding application to organise an international meeting and/or a Seminar Series that would include participants from Latina America (Brazil, Colombia), Africa (Kenya, Ghana), and Asia (India, Nepal, Russia).

Latin American countries have gone through a remarkable process of political and economic transformation. In recent decades, in many Latin American states, governments have introduced far reaching healthcare reforms to widen access to healthcare and courts developed constitutional guarantees of the right to health. In many countries these changes have led to considerable advances in terms of healthcare quality and equitable access. At the same time, however, the Zika outbreak has drawn attention to persisting problems with the implementation of constitutional principles into policy and practice. It also revealed with unprecedented acuity the disadvantaged position of women, in particular from economically deprived backgrounds and indigenous communities, and highlighted how gendered norms are deeply embedded in healthcare institutions.

The Workshop aims to address these problems as well as discuss the wider implications for other geographic areas and global health law and governance. It will focus on three main aspects of the Zika outbreak:

1. Reproductive rights and reproductive health
2. Global health governance and public health
3. Medical research and intellectual property rights

Programme & Registration

Please note that registration for the event has now closed.


The workshop will be held at The Leopold Hotel in Sheffield city centre.The Leopold Hotel

Click here for location and directions.