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Access to public health information: A Cross-Mediterranean Online Advocacy Campaign02.03.2021

The first advocacy campaign coached by Med Dialogue focuses access to health and public information on health, has been designed as an online campaign, in light of the current COVID-19 emergency related restrictions.

The recent pandemic has in fact shown that the issue of “access/right to health” has affected all countries of the region, either developed, or in development, with solid democracies or under ‘democratic transition’. The limits of public health response to the emergency became evident not only in areas with a poor health infrastructure, but also in industrialized areas, putting forward the question of pollution impact on health, social inequalities in terms of safety standards, limited public health equipment facilities, and scattered or non-transparent contagion data availability.

The transnational dimension of the issue of “access/right to health”, amplified by the Covid-19 emergency, has all the qualifications for an exercise of regional advocacy in the Mediterranean region. Another fundamental aspect which deserves attention is the issue of accountability. We have unfortunately seen many governments taking the opportunity of the lockdown for limiting freedom of expression, reducing spaces of critical expression or for undermining the watchdog role of civil society in making governments accountable for their measures, the level of transparency applied on the pandemic impact, and the way the health issues have been addressed. Integrating this dimension in the campaign will give the opportunity to link “access/right to health” with the “duty of accountability and public transparency”.

In light of the above considerations, Med Dialogue decided to start its advocacy campaign coaching and supporting component with an online pilot campaign, focusing exactly on “access/right to health” with the “duty of accountability and public transparency”. Maharat Foundation and EuroHealthNet, two organizations with solid and diverse expertise and influence, were identified to carry out a range of coordinated advocacy actions and reach a broader set of decision-makers.

The overall goal of the advocacy campaign is to enhance the provision of accurate and transparent information about COVID-19 statistics and prevention measures, particularly via media, to support the health of the population and help ending the pandemic. Its core message is that ‘ensuring free circulation of accurate public health information is essential to fighting the COVID-19 pandemic and keeping governments accountable for their citizens’ rights to health’.  To create awareness, spread the message, widen the outreach of the campaign, and engage supporters,  a social media campaign is designed to target selected audiences with relevant materials. Additionally, media work on European online magazines will spread the outputs of the campaign among the European public and civil society networks.

In support of the actions, a position paper will be drafted, highlighting the international standards that should be applied for protecting the free flow of information at national and regional levels; relevant decision makers will be the recipients of this paper. Finally, to contribute to the overall online campaign, a series of six digital sessions are carried out, targeting different stakeholders (University students, Civil Society Organization, Journalists, Factchecking, Refugees and Media bodies) at local and regional level, and focusing on  “Access to public health information: a key for public accountability and health equity in times of COVID-19”.

Here as well, you can find a video produced by Maharat Foundation and EuroHealthNet on the occasion of the launch of the campaign:

https://fb.watch/3ZLF0q0pPu/

For more information, please contact:

Maharat email:  info@maharatfoundation.org; layal.bahnam@maharatfoundation.org

EuroHealthNet email : a.maassen@eurohealthnet.eu

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