Symposium on Pandemic and Emergencies: Ethics Planning and Response

This workshop will take place December 5-6th.

Objectives and Agenda

Pandemic Influenza (PI) and Public Health emergencies are unique ethical challenges because extensive disease may affect the functioning of society itself as witnessed in past pandemics. Should there be an influenza pandemic or other emergencies, countries, especially those with limited resources, will face very difficult choices. The critical ethical questions include prioritization of access to medications, vaccines and intensive care given the potential shortage of these es­sential resources during a pandemic. Other key issues that may pose ethical challenges include obligations to and of Health Care Workers (HCW) given that they may risk their own health and the health of their families’ as they undertake some of the response activities. Surveillance, isola­tion, quarantine and social-distancing measures that may be undertaken during PI control may contradict and be in conflict with socially acceptable norms. Finally, there is need for clarity on obligations that countries may have to one another with respect to pandemic influenza planning and response efforts.  

Recognizing the need to bring public health ethics to the forefront of public health interventions and realizing the gaps that exist in identifying ethical challenges specifically related to PI detection and control in the Eastern Mediterranean Region,  the Training Programs in Epidemiology and Public Health Intervention Network (TEPHINET) and the Eastern Mediterranean Public Health Network (EMPHNET) , with support of US CDC, American University of Beirut (AUB), World Health Organization, leading experts in public health ethics, scientists, PI implementers and players from a number of  Eastern Mediterranean countries, will begin the process of identifying PI ethical challenges and reaching consensus on how best to address them. Eventually, this process will lead to improvement of existing Avian Influenza ( AI) and PI preparedness plans in African and Asia countries and help in mitigating some of the adverse effects of a PI.

The first step in the process is to hold a symposium.  The objectives of the symposium are to identify region specific ethical challenges in pandemic influenza detection and control, to build consensus on the process of addressing the ethical challenges and to develop draft country / regional guidelines on addressing pandemic influenza ethical challenges with clear implementation strategies for the drafted guidelines.


Objectives of the symposium 

1. Gain Shared Understanding of How Ethics Influences Policies and Practice in the Context of a Pandemic Influenza and emergencies in the region .  


3. Create Actionable Plans That the region participant  Can Carry Home and Use to Improve Ethics Inclusion in Pandemic Flu Plans and Responses.  

4. Establishment of a social network for sharing on-going feedback, stories and thoughts concerning public health ethics issues.


Learning objectives:By the end of the training, participants will:

Understand the global humanitarian preparedness and response mechanisms

Know major humanitarian agencies within and outside the UN system and their roles in crises

Gain an understanding of basic vulnerabilities, health threats and major causes of death and disease studied in past humanitarian crises

Learn to  apply epidemiological tools for rapid needs assessments, prioritization and in monitoring of relief and response interventions


Target audience:30-40 people are expected to participate in the meeting.

Language:The workshop will be conducted in English.

Selection of participants:Participantsfrom countries with FETP program, at least one representative of the FETP program and one person from the MOH who is related to ethical issuesGuests from Universities or civil communities in the region (Ethics department, religious authorities, other) , CDC staff, Consultants, TEPHINET staff, and EMPHENET.

Course costs:  $400.00 EMPHNET registration fees cover the cost of the course.

Course Logistics:EMPHNET and TEPHINET will facilitate the logistics for those accepted

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