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PRESS RELEASE
Europe listens to the citizens’ voice

Saturday 24th September 2016

On Saturday in eight countries across Europe hundreds of citizens met to discuss and vote simultaneously on what European citizens think about epidemic and pandemic preparedness and response. The consultation meetings are part of a European Research project called ASSET which focuses on the need to communicate with and involve the public in understanding the issues around pandemics and epidemics. The citizen’s consultation meeting in Dublin was hosted by the European Institute of Women’s Health, a partner in the project..

All the participants voiced their opinion, at the same time, using the same procedure, on a series of very important themes related to epidemics in four areas:

Personal freedom and public health safety; Communication between citizens and public health authorities; Transparency in public health and Access to information.

In situations of infectious threats, a conflict between public health safety and personal freedom may be inevitable: what are citizen’s attitudes?

In the past, top-down and reticent communication from public health authorities impaired public trust and effective response to infectious.

Nessa Childers, member of the European Parliament, opened the consultation meeting, stated that:

“It is very important to listen to the opinion of the public in relation to the issue of infectious disease threats and to understand what kind of information people would like to receive, through which channels, and also if they feel they should provide information as well”.

The consultation meeting was an opportunity to learn what preparedness and response is in place for epidemics and pandemics and to discuss and exchange views on these issues with the public. Some questions in the sessions explored the source of information used by the public and their willingness to receive information.

This open session will allow the public who participated in the consultation to provide policy makers with what they think are the most important recommendations. All the answers will be collected into a database, analysed and then discussed with a delegation of the European Parliament in spring 2017”

said Peggy Maguire Director General,European Institute of Womens Health

For further information,
Contact: The European Institute of Women’s Health,
353 1 6715691
Please visit the ASSET website
http://www.asset-scienceinsociety.eu/

You can see the full policy brief at:

where you can also download this either as a pdf or doc file

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