Best Practice Platform

The Best Practice Platform of the ASSET Project in an ongoing collection of good and best “practices” on Science-In-Society related issues in public health research on epidemics and pandemics. An explanation of what best practices are may be found in this article.

In the context of a Europe increasingly hesitant about vaccination, with dropping vaccination coverage, Immuniser Lyon was a French campaign aiming to re-inform the population of the greater Lyon area in centre-east of Franceof the proven benefits of vaccination and to incite people of all ages (children, adults, seniors) to be up-to-date with their vaccinations.

The fact that some vaccine preventable diseases have disappeared or are very rare following these vaccination programs can lead to parents believing there is no more need to vaccinate. Therefore, it is of huge importance that events like the European Immunization, helping maintain vaccination awareness and giving accurate and understandable information on immunization, exist. In this way, public confidence in immunization is less susceptible to be influenced by groups, websites or campaigns against vaccination. By acknowledging that every child deserves a healthy start in life, countries can use the European Immunization Week to increase awareness of the importance of immunization and to strengthen their immunization systems.

Since its creation in 2000, the National Human Rights Romeurope alerted the authorities to the need to take better account of difficulties of access to care of foreign Roma people living in France. Following extensive discussions and in order to verify the relevance of these recommendations for access to rights and health, the Directorate General of Health supported in 2008-2009 an action of  project engineering intended to present plans of development of mediation pilot projects.

In USA, the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) surveyed the population on their attitude towards vaccination, in order to adapt their communication messages and clearly and accurately promote the benefits of vaccination in ways that resonate with family decision makers. A total of 1,278 parents and guardians were interviewed using an online established survey panel.

Some countries are slowly moving toward the implementation of a two-way PH communication strategy. For example, in May 2010, shortly after the H1N1 pandemic, the public health authorities of New Zealand designed a rapid response initiative to have feedback from population on the communication campaign and on their risk perception. The project consisted in a study, which aimed to retrieve evidence-based information which health authorities could use to design tailored health communication campaigns during/after periods of pandemics.

In 1991, a first mediation program was initially conceived by the Romani Criss NGO mainly focused as a conflict mitigation project. Mediators were being trained to improve communication between Roma communities, non-Roma population and local authorities. In 1996, supported by the Catholic Centre against Famine and for Development (CCFD), the NGO reoriented the program to a health-focused mediation, principally aimed at improving social conditions for Roma and facilitating communication between Roma communities and medical providers.

An example of population consultation project was started recently by the French Ministry of Health, Marisol Touraine, who intends to consult the population on the matter of mandatory vaccination, as a part of a wide-ranging review of immunisation policies. This initiative comes after a report confirmed that vaccination is a sensitive society issue, which needs a large consultation of all stakeholders, including the civil society, with the aim of engaging them in a discussion about immunisation and its importance to public health. 

The Bulgarian health mediator model was developed based on the experience of the Dutch Institute of Public Health and on the Romanian model of health mediators, which was presented by the Romani CRISS Foundation and the Romanian Ministry of Health.

A very recent and innovative example of good practice concerning awareness campaigns is the “Italian Chart for the Promotion of Vaccinations”, a recent call for action whose website is: http://www.teamvaxitalia.it/. Namely, the Chart is the result of the efforts of the “TeamVaxItaly” movement that had been founded in a civil society meeting in Fano (Italy) in October 2015.

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
Effective communication in outbreak management: development of an evidence-based tool for Europe
Developing the framework for an epidemic forecast infrastructure
European monitoring of excess mortality for public health action
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
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
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
Creating mechanisms for effectively tackling the scientific and technology related challenges faced by society
Improving respect of ethics principles and laws in research and innovation, in line with the evolution of technologies and societal concerns
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