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The handling of the H1N1 pandemic: more transparency needed

Reply to Recommendation | Doc. 12484 | 24 January 2011

Committee of Ministers
adopted at the 1103rd meeting of the Ministers’ Deputies (19-20 January 2011) 2011 - First part-session
Reply to Recommendation
: Recommendation 1929 (2010)
1. The Committee of Ministers has examined Parliamentary Assembly Recommendation 1929 (2010) on “The handling of the H1N1 pandemic: more transparency needed” with interest. It has brought the recommendation to the attention of the member states’ governments to bear in mind where appropriate. It has also communicated the texts to the European Health Committee (CDSP), the comments of which have been taken into account in the present reply.
2. The Committee of Ministers shares the ambitions of the Assembly with regard to promoting good governance in the public health sector. It considers that the adoption of Recommendation CM/Rec(2010)6 of the Committee of Ministers to member states on good governance in health systems is a significant step in that direction. Like the Assembly, it would encourage member states to actively participate in the activities being carried out to evaluate, monitor and promote the implementation of the recommendation on the national level. The Assembly is informed that a project to elaborate a Council of Europe code regarding the implementation of good governance principles in health systems is also under way.
3. The Assembly has expressed particular concerns with regard to the handling of the H1N1 pandemic in member states. In this respect, the Committee of Ministers would point out that the primary responsibility for the management of pandemics on national territories, falls with national authorities. However, the Committee of Ministers has also taken note with interest of the Conference organised by the Belgian Presidency of the European Council on the “Lessons learnt from the influenza A (H1N1) 2009 pandemic”, the conclusions of which were added to the Council Conclusions of 13 September 2009. In this regard, explicit references were made to the review of the preparedness plan taking into account the lessons learnt. Clear references are also made within the conference conclusions on improving governance issues, such as ensuring the independence of studies conducted. There is also an extensive evaluation underway by the WHO International Health Regulations Review committee of the global pandemic response.
4. The Committee of Ministers considers that these evaluations, and others which are currently underway at national, European and international level concerning the handling of the H1N1 pandemic, will provide useful material to further help national authorities to improve the governance of mechanisms and organisations dealing with pandemics.