Public communication about pandemic influenza : a critical public health ethics analysis / by Laena Maunula.
Maunula, Laena Katrina
MetadataShow full item record
The purpose of this research was two-fold: two-fold: firstly, to critically analyze, using a critical public health ethics perspective, public communication directed toward the population of Ontario regarding a future influenza pandemic and compare this communication with information needs and interests of a sample of this population, and secondly, to examine public preferences for engagement in pandemic planning. First, public communication/education materials developed by Public Health Agency of Canada, Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (Ontario) and Health Canada concerning pandemic influenza were analysed using a four step coding process. Next, survey data was collected regarding general pandemic knowledge, informational needs, desires and expectations, including opinions regarding public engagement from a First Nations and a university sample. Results from the document analysis and survey were compared and analysed using a critical public health ethics lens. Results indicated that; (a) Considerable overlap exists between the most important topics as identified by respondents and the topics most covered in documents, although several areas in which information desired by respondents was not included in documents, (b) Respondents underestimated the projected scale and impact of influenza pandemic, (c) Respondents were largely unaware of government pandemic plans including Canadian Pandemic Influenza Plan, although expressed great interest in pandemic plans, (d) Respondents were in favour of having involvement in pandemic decision making at some level, and indicated their preferred methods of participation, (e) Communication documents largely portrayed pandemic influenza as a biomedical issue, and pandemic planning as within the Jurisdiction of experts. Prevention, particularly self-protection behaviours on the part of the individual, was also a dominant theme. The author posits practical suggestions for improving future public communications. Study sampling from 2 populations in Northwestern Ontario : students, faculty, staff at Lakehead University (Thunder Bay) and the Lac des Milles Lacs First Nations band (Aboriginal or Native peoples).