You cannot guess precisely when the next influenza pandemic will occur but it is very likely to be in the next 20 years. It is fair to assume that reliable estimates of the effects that the next infectious influenza pandemic will have on the population as a whole are focused on mortality and morbidity in previous epidemics. For these potential effects, nations and the intercontinental society as a whole must be ready to cope with and mitigate the imminent pandemic. Ethical Issues That the Community May Face in the Next Influenza Pandemic
One of the main issues that the community is likely to face in the light of an influenza pandemic is constraints in regard to resources. All countries are required to significantly be prepared in the case of an influenza pandemic. However, what may seem as significant preparedness for one country may not be the same to another and thus being prepared for such a huge pandemic is relative. The lack of funds for starters is what makes the process of preparing for such to be a huge ethical challenge. While funds are usually allocated towards the preparing of the pandemic, the issue of mismanagement or insufficient funds always hinders the community from being completely prepared for the pandemic.
Another ethical issue in regard to resource allocations and the consequent constraints is that influenza as a pandemic has been taken lightly and not with as much weight as it should genuinely be given as described by Yount (2013). Policy makers will allocate more funds to issues such as HIV/AIDS and malaria as this seems to be more urgent issues that require immediate attention. As a result of this, influenza preparedness is pulled back by the lack of enough funds to prepare for it over the period of time before it strikes and any predictions that it may strike sooner sends the parties involved into panic mode as they try to come up with contingency plans within the shortest time possible.
Away from this community, other nations especially the developing nations do not have the kind of resources that are needed to battle this epidemic and as a result of this they always end up suffering more in the face of this epidemic according to Shaker (2014). The reserve restraint that faces developing nations and coupled by the international temperament of the risk, draws attention to the significance of global cooperation in increasing a universal rejoinder to an influenza pandemic.
Another ethical issue in respect to the influenza pandemic is the fact that more often than not, the public are usually left out until the pandemic hits and that is when all the awareness and warnings and contingency measures try to get communicated to the public. The arrangement of the public in the preparation of the plans to combat influenza is very significant. Public obligation and engaging them in the involvement of relevant stakeholders ought to be part of each and every one of the features of planning. Strategic resolutions and their rationalization are supposed to be exposed and put out in the open to communal analysis. This alteration, and the validations to why they should be practiced, ought to be made public in all transparency.
While it is often recognized that public health movements should in the long run be determined by the health experts, encompassing the public can go a long way in helping to shape trust and in the intensification of recognition of the projected policy. Public engagement may happen beside a continuum whereby at one of the ends of the continuum, the public is simply conversant of the policy. The most thrilling description of this always happens when the public gets to be updated once the policy has already been put in place. On the other hand, the less risky account of this happens when the public is knowledgeable that the policy is under development. The other end of the continuum is when the public has the ultimate authority to stretch or hold back authorization for the said policy to be established or instigated as described by Henman (2007).
In the case of a pandemic of influenza, legislators have the obligation to take account of a scheme through which they can ensure that the ethical course of action and measures that have been put in place are sustained. In the case that an inaccuracy or an omission occurs, it becomes the duty of the representatives in the community to recognize the state of affairs and make a statement to the public on time in an attempt to come up with suitable solution as pertaining to the ensuing hitches Yount (2013). If an address of the community is not done, then there is the possibility of losing the trust of the public which is not a good thing especially if a pandemic should be put under control.
An outbreak of this pandemic will also greatly affect the economic and social structuring of the community. A lot of funds will already be channeled towards trying to combat it and put in the right emergency plans for dealing with the pandemic. While the community will be well prepared, there still stands the risk of a good percentage of the people catching influenza in due course. This could be because funds allocated were not able to fully cover the sort of preparedness that is needed in the face of such a pandemic. Late allocation of minimal funds towards preparing for the pandemic may also be reason enough as to why a good number of people would be prone to catching influenza.
This affects the economy since most people will be infected or consequently affected and thus will not be able to show up to their jobs or run their business as they would normally as Hursthouse (2012) describes. A shift in the economy of the community has a huge impact on the overall economy and if people are not working this means that the market for products and services will shift downwards as most people are incapable of going about their businesses. The policy makers may also decide to shut out people from public places so as to reduce the risk of the impacts of influenza on the people of the community. This also involves schools being shut down and a child staying at home, until the pandemic is put under control.
Another issue that is equally serious and important is the issue of medical help. Most of the influenza patients will need a lot of medical help as well as being nursed back to health. This becomes an issue if it was not addressed during the preparedness planning that pertains to the control of influenza. Seeing as the medical field in the community is not sufficient enough as it is to take care of the community even in the absence of the pandemic, having enough staff to be on standby will definitely prove to be a huge challenge. Doctors, clinical officers and nurses will need to be available and on call in response to the first signs of an influenza outbreak but being able to deliver this will definitely be a huge challenge.
Solutions to Resolve the Ethical Issues
Countries have an onus to curtail the constraint that is brought about by the disease on the persons and societies. However, they need to do this in a reverential manner considering the person’s civil liberties and lack of restrictions. The prerequisite to stabilize the benefits of the entire society as well as the constitutional privileges of the members is essentially prominent in implementing unrestricted healthiness processes for instance segregation, confinement, estrangement as well boundary regulating as described by Yount (2013). While all these procedures can legally be tried out in an attempt to alleviate influence of an influenza contagion, the weight laid down towards a person’s independences necessitates the need for their usage to be prudently restricted as well as be made partial especially in situations where it is judiciously probable in making available a communal well-being advantage that is imperative.
The other solution towards the successful curbing of the influenza pandemic is ensuring that there is enough funding that has been allocated towards the preparedness planning of the pandemic. The policy makers and the government should ensure that sufficient funds have been given out to come up with sordid contingency plans that will go a long way in cutting short the pandemic should it strike at any given time. Having a plan way beforehand is important as compared to rushing and trying to come up with emergency plans once the pandemic blows. It is also a good idea if all the communities could act in response cooperatively when innate threats such as the influenza pandemic strikes. An influenza pandemic is intrinsically a worldwide catastrophe; the deficiency in any form of response to a virulent disease does not only threaten the community only but puts all other nations at a greater risk than before. It is for that reason that in every nation’s general significance to have a say on the international labors to put a stop to and act in response to an influenza pandemic.
A community working together towards putting off or preparing for the pandemic also eases the burden of resources. Working collectively will ensure that resources are shared and in this case those communities that would have lacked some of the resources needed had they fought the pandemic on their own can now benefit from the collective working together to fight off the pandemic. Shaver (2014) describes that since resources are in limited supply, nations are probable to face complicated options between the need to defend their own communities or come together and be an international community. As a result of this, progress preparation at a more global level is essential in helping countries elucidate their expectations towards each other for the duration of the pandemic. Additionally, the global community is expected to amplify the efficiency of general preparedness strategies.
The community should also partner up with medical facilities or other not for profit organizations that are geared towards helping in such pandemics. This will ensure that even when the epidemic strikes there will be enough medical personnel to be able to handle the population that will be infected by the pandemic according to Shaver (2014). At the same time, it is important that the needs of these staff members are taken care of and that they are equipped with ample and proper training for the period of the pandemic. Regimes, proficient groups, as well as those working within the health care system ought to make sure that health-care staff are able to get sufficient training and statistics as pertaining to the perils that are related to caring for the affected patients. This includes setting up a center for them to receive guiding and cancelling as it might be a probability that lives may be lost during the epidemic and this may psychologically affect the staff some of whom are volunteers and are not used to handling such trauma.
Another solution is to ensure that the community is informed beforehand that a pandemic might be coming their way. This goes hand in hand with the need to educate the community and teach them on ways through which they can take care of the infected. In addition to ensuring that the global community is duly notified of an impending pandemic, it is important to endorse public thoughts and backing for universal alliances when it comes to efforts to effectually respond to a pandemic. In addition to this, governments are supposed to institute comprehensible and crystal clear communication strategies and dogmata that can help in the promoting of a collaborative relationship between communities across the globe, and more so at the local level. Furthermore, there is the need to elucidate on the significance of transnational cooperation in trying to lessen the antagonistic well-being, societal, industrialized, and the impacts on an economic scale that an outbreak of influenza may cause and the repercussion. There is also need to communicate effectively how such worldwide efforts are dealt with when it comes to ethics and human rights and how they play out at a community level.
In a nutshell, it is therefore quite clear that the solutions to curbing the influenza outbreak are not a process that should hurriedly be put in place. Rather, the community and especially the policy makers ought to have rolled out a program that would help in the case of a break out long before the pandemic hits. It is also clear that when it comes to the preparing and planning to curb an epidemic such as influenza a lot of ethical considerations arise. Among the many is the fact that the public is not usually warned on time that there is an impeding catastrophe that is about to hit. It is therefore important to ensure that there is solution included that involves having open channels of communication with the people. This not only fulfills the healthcare regulations but is also essential as communication with the public helps to create awareness and ultimately people are able to stay away from areas where they could easily catch influenza. Most of the responsibilities however seem to fall back on the policy makers and the governments as they are the ones who come up with the rules and the regulations as the representatives of the people.
Henman, Robert (2007) Foundations in Ethical Theory.Retrieved from http://www.roberthenman.com/articles/foundationsethics.pdf
Hursthouse, Rosalind (2012) Virtue Ethics.Retrieved from http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/ethics-virtue/
Johnson, Robert (2008) Kant’s Moral Philosophy. Retrieved fromhttp://plato.stanford.edu/entries/kant-moral/
Shaver, Robert (2014) Egoism.Retrieved from http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/egoism/
Yount, Dave (2013) Ethical Relativism:What It Is, And Objections There Against. Retrieved from http://www.mc.maricopa.edu/~davpy35701/text/relativism.html