Monday, May 5, 2008

Planning for an Influenza Pandemic: Social Justice and Disadvantaged Groups

From the Communication Initiative...

"This paper builds from historical evidence from the 1918-1919 influenza pandemic that lower social classes and oppressed groups had higher mortality rates than the dominant or ruling population and suffered more from severe social and economic disruption. It examines the application of social justice to the situation of a pandemic and asks for attention to groups characterised by severe economic poverty or subordinate social status and power in the context of planning for and responding to a pandemic. Its specific analysis is of national pandemic planning using criteria set forth in a checklist created from the bio-ethics principles set forth by the Bellagio Group

Because the World Health Organization (WHO) Checklist for Influenza Pandemic Preparedness Planning and most subsequent pandemic preparedness documents do not specifically address the needs of socially and economically disadvantaged groups, an international panel of experts met in Bellagio, Italy, in July 2006, "to identify current and potential responses to pandemic influenza that are likely to have profound effects on the world’s disadvantaged, and to recommend concrete steps to prevent - or at least mitigate - those outcomes that are the most unjust." The group developed a statement of principles and checklists intended to provide specific guidance to planners and those working in the field. The checklist criteria for the development of pandemic preparedness and response plans used for this analysis are:
1) explicitly identify disadvantaged groups within society;
2) engage these groups in the planning process, either directly or through their representatives; and
3)identify and address the special needs of disadvantaged groups in the context of a pandemic. "

To take a look at the paper:

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