Epidemic preparedness and response: Europe listens to the citizens’ voice

One day, eight countries, fifty participants for each of them, open discussions and a series of questions. These are the ingredients of the citizen consultations organized by ASSET on September 24th, to voice people’s opinion on epidemic preparedness and response.

Something similar to what happened in France, where the results of public consultations on vaccines, involving healthcare professionals and the general public, will be presented in October. France seems to have a problem with vaccination, as highlighted by a recent study that showed a concerning level of distrust towards vaccines safety among French citizen (more than four out of ten, a negative record compared to a global average of 13 percent). Try to engage citizens, and listen to their worries and proposals may represent a positive step towards the reduction of such a distrust.

And this is exactly the aim of ASSET consultations.

The event will involve women and men from each country, representative of the whole national population, according to a method developed and tested by the Danish Board of Technology Foundation (DBT). They will gather at the same time to discuss and deliberate with the same procedure about a series of very important themes related to epidemics, from personal freedom and public health safety to communication between citizens and public health authorities, from transparency in public health to access to knowledge.

In case of infectious outbreaks, a conflict between public health safety and personal freedom can be inevitable. Moreover, public trust and effective response to infectious threats may be impaired by top-down and reticent communication from public health authorities. It is thus important to understand citizens’ attitudes toward each issue of concern, what kind of information they would like to receive, through which channels, and also if they feel they should provide information as well.

ASSET consultation will explore the source of information used by citizens and their willingness to receive unproved pieces of information. Also, it will encourage participants to discuss about conflict of interest between industry and authorities, as well as the occasional need of silence for security purposes.

At the end of the event, participants will be asked to answer a series of questions. Their responses will be then collected into a database, analysed and showed at this page. They will be finally discussed with a delegation of the European Parliament in spring 2017. By doing this, citizens participating will be able to provide policy makers with what they think are the most important recommendation.

MMLAP and other EU Projects

Health system analysis to support capacity development in response to the threat of pandemic influenza in Asia
Making society an active participant in water adaptation to global change
Public Participation in Developing a Common Framework for Assessment and Management of Sustainable Innovation
Engaging all of Europe in shaping a desirable and sustainable future
Expect the unexpected and know how to respond
Driving innovation in crisis management for European resilience
Effective communication in outbreak management: development of an evidence-based tool for Europe
Solutions to improve CBRNe resilience
Network for Communicable Disease Control in Southern Europe and Mediterranean Countries
Developing the framework for an epidemic forecast infrastructure
Strengthening of the national surveillance system for communicable diseases
Surveillance of vaccine preventable hepatitis
European monitoring of excess mortality for public health action
European network for highly infectious disease
Dedicated surveillance network for surveillance and control of vaccine preventable diseases in the EU
Modelling the spread of pandemic influenza and strategies for its containment and mitigation
Cost-effectiveness assessment of european influenza human pandemic alert and response strategies
Bridging the gap between science, stakeholders and policy makers
Promotion of immunization for health professionals in Europe
Towards inclusive research programming for sustainable food innovations
Addressing chronic diseases and healthy ageing across the life cycle
Medical ecosystem – personalized event-based surveillance
Studying the many and varied economic, social, legal and ethical aspects of the recent developments on the Internet, and their consequences for the individual and society at large
Get involved in the responsible marine research and innovation
Knowledge-based policy-making on issues involving science, technology and innovation, mainly based upon the practices in Parliamentary Technology Assessment
Assessment of the current pandemic preparedness and response tools, systems and practice at national, EU and global level in priority areas
Analysis of innovative public engagement tools and instruments for dynamic governance in the field of Science in Society
Public Engagement with Research And Research Engagement with Society
Computing Veracity – the Fourth Challenge of Big Data
Providing infrastructure, co-ordination and integration of existing clinical research networks on epidemics and pandemics
Promote vaccinations among migrant population in Europe
Creating mechanisms for effectively tackling the scientific and technology related challenges faced by society
Improve the quality of indoor air, keeping it free from radon
Improving respect of ethics principles and laws in research and innovation, in line with the evolution of technologies and societal concerns
Investigating how cities in the West securitise against global pandemics
Creating a structured dialogue and mutual learning with citizens and urban actors by setting up National Networks in 10 countries across Europe
Identifying how children can be change agents in the Science and Society relationship
Establishing an open dialogue between stakeholders concerning synthetic biology’s potential benefits and risks
Transparent communication in Epidemics: Learning Lessons from experience, delivering effective Messages, providing Evidence