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Specialist bioethicists meets in Malta

The 16th European Conference on Philosophy of Medicine and Health Care, organised by the European Society for Philosophy in Medicine and Health Care (ESPMH) and the Maltese National Bioethics Consultative Committee was held in Malta.

The ESPMH is the largest European organisation of specialist bioethicists coming from fields as diverse as philosophy, theology and health care. All have a special interest in biomedical moral issues.

Two members of the Bioethics Consultative Committee are also members of the ESPMH: Rev. Prof. Emanuel Agius, who gave a keynote lecture on 'Euromediterranean ethics' and Dr Pierre Mallia, also a specialist in bioethics who gave a plenary talk on the 'Phenomenological approaches to genetic screening'.

Prof. Joe Friggieri, from the Department of Philosophy of the University of Malta, was one of the guest speakers along with Prof. John Harris from the University of Manchester - a long-established figure in the field of European bioethics who has written many provocative papers.

Dr Mallia said the papers presented in parallel sessions at this yearly meeting reflected the work being carried out in the field of bioethics throughout the world.

Papers ranged from ethical theory and clinical practice to sessions on genetics, justice, dignity, and the EU.

The parallel sessions are traditionally chaired by long-standing members of ESPMH and select members of local organising committees.

Dr Lino German and Dr Paul Vassallo Agius, both active members of the Maltese Bioethics Committee, chaired parallel sessions, Bioethics Consultative Committee chairman Maurice Cauchi co-chaired plenary sessions, while Health Minister Louis Deguara concluded the meeting.

The conference was held at the Suncrest Hotel in Qawra.

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