Opinion of CEPA on the public health aspect of the Quebec Plan to Combat Pandemic Influenza

The Public Health Ethics Committee (CEPA) launches its latest notice. This concerns the public health component of the Quebec plan to fight an influenza pandemic – Health Mission . The latter includes five strategies or ensure a lookout and epidemiological surveillance, apply the measures of prevention and infection control in health care and other public environment settings, use of antivirals, vaccination of the population and implement measures public health.

The review of the plan raised ethical concerns specific measures adopted in the context of each of these strategies. The Committee also considered issues related to the dimension of communication and risk governance, which runs through all strategies contained in the Plan . The Committee’s work was done with the lighting of the following ethical dimensions:

“Good science” effectiveness of measures and prudence;Respect the principles of equity, universality and the public nature of health care and health system;Transparency, autonomy of individuals and communities and democratic issues management;Responsibility and solidarity, special attention to the most vulnerable;Ethical dimensions to be considered in a global perspective.

In addition to specific recommendations to the measures adopted in the context of the public health component of the Plan , the Committee makes recommendations related to the communication dimension and risk governance; they especially encourage public debate and citizen participation for some of the major issues raised by planning public health component.