Self-Assessment Questions (SAQs) for Study Session 8

Now that you have completed this study session, you can assess how well you have achieved its Learning Outcomes by answering the following questions. Write your answers in your Study Diary and discuss them with your Tutor at the next Study Support Meeting. You can check your answers with the Notes on the Self-Assessment Questions at the end of this Module.

SAQ 8.1 (tests Learning Outcome 8.1)

Can you give an example of a stigma that can be caused by a medical condition? How might stigma be avoided?


There are lots of examples of stigma following medical conditions that you could have chosen. Often people with infectious diseases, such as HIV or AIDS, are stigmatised because of their medical condition. Stigma can be reduced or avoided if proper education is given to the community. If they understand about an infection such as HIV then there is no reason why a person with HIV should be stigmatised.

Read Case Study 8.7 and answer the questions that follow.

Case Study 8.7  Ethical dilemmas

Amarech is providing antenatal care for W/ro Alemach, wife of Ato Feleke. Alemach is 26 weeks pregnant. This is her third pregnancy and the previous two deliveries were safe. When W/ro Alemach comes to the Health Post for her appointment, she complains of a burning sensation during urination and a yellowish discharge from her birth canal. Amarech has told W/ro Alemach that this is almost certainly caused by an infection acquired by sexual intercourse. She asks W/ro Alemach to tell the truth if she has had extra-marital sex because this might be the source of infection and the cause of her symptoms. W/ro Alemach eventually admits that she has had an affair with Ato Tadesse, a well-known community member, who is the likely source of the infection. Her husband does not know about the extra-marital relationship and she does not want him to know. She is certain her husband is the father of the child she is carrying. She asks Amarech to provide treatment for her infection and not to tell her husband about her situation.

SAQ 8.2 (tests Learning Outcome 8.2)

What is an ethical dilemma or ethical conflict? Identify the main ethical dilemmas and conflicts in Case Study 8.7.


From Case Study 8.7 you can extract a number of ethical issues or conflicts. Amarech has the responsibility to keep W/ro Alemach’s medical secret. Confidentiality is the core ethical principle in this case study. If Amarech tells Ato Feleke about his wife’s infection, W/ro Alemach may end up being divorced. The principle of nonmaleficence would be violated. If Amarech keeps the secret there is a probability of transmitting the infection to Ato Feleke and the principles of beneficence and nomaleficence would be violated. The best solution to those conflicting issues is to encourage Alemach to tell her husband herself. This would involve the principle of autonomy.

SAQ 8.3 (tests Learning Outcomes 8.2 and 8.3)

Which ethical theories might be helpful to resolve the ethical dilemmas that you have identified in Case Study 8.7? Describe at least one theory that might be helpful.


There are several ethical theories that could be used to resolve the dilemmas that have been identified in Case Study 8.7. Confidentiality and truthfulness are at the centre of the case study, but autonomy, beneficence and nonmalefience may also be useful.

SAQ 8.4 (tests Learning Outcomes 8.2 and 8.4)

Describe how the decision-making steps found in Box 8.2 might help the resolution of the ethical conflicts that you have identified in Case Study 8.7.


The decision-making steps found in Box 8.2 might help the resolution of the ethical conflicts in Case Study 8.7 because a logical approach to sorting out the problems will help you think clearly about the problem and how to solve it.

Summary of Study Session 8