Where is the permanent pandemic exit plan?

After 2 years of improvisation, I recognize all the efforts made by our governments to defeat the pandemic. But let’s recognize that many decisions have been improvised, I say this without looking for blame, the pandemic not only being a humanitarian disaster for all Quebec and Canadian citizens, it is above all a global scourge. Will we be able to learn from it? What is the plan for the future? Is there a permanent health emergency plan so that the population maintains hope in the effectiveness of health measures?

Review our method of organization in health crisis management

We have come to the time of the assessments in order to better prepare ourselves for possible pandemics, starting with this one which “is likely to last for several more years” according to a declaration by the Federal Minister of Health, Mr. Jean Yves Duclos. We need a permanent health emergency plan to avoid being caught off guard and improvising at the last minute. Unless I am mistaken, this plan does not exist permanently given the current extreme level of improvisation on the part of our governments.

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I will leave it to others to find the reasons for our failures in the management of the current pandemic. I am counting on the insights provided by the reports of the Ombudsperson, the Health Commissioner and the coroner responsible for investigating the high mortality rate in CHSLDs and residences for the elderly. However, I believe that we must review our vision and our method of organization in crisis management to better face the next health emergencies.

I know we are all frustrated with the current situation, deprivations, injustices and endless delays for treatments and services to which we are normally entitled. But, the health emergency this crisis leads us to a deep reflection on the future of our mode of societal organization both in terms of health, education and our local services.

Prepare a permanent health emergency plan by ending confinement

Where to start? Here are 3 essential steps for developing a permanent health emergency plan with two objectives, namely the rapid mobilization of available human resources, and the achievement of equitable and lasting collective immunity:

1. Prepare a national forum, with the aim of mobilizing the forces of both the public and private sectors, in order to reach consensus on a health emergency plan to counter possible pandemics in the short, medium and long term.

2. Quickly mobilize available resources (retirees, students) other than the army in times of pandemic. How? ‘Or’ What? By creating an emergency civic service made up of volunteers to compensate for the lack of human resources in health and education in order to avoid the offloading of urgent operations and virtual courses.

3. Create an equitable and sustainable herd immunity environment within the population by ceasing to confine people. How? ‘Or’ What? By emphasizing instead the strengthening of the vaccination passport for access to public places (shows, sports venues, cinemas and restaurants) and compulsory vaccination for certain categories of State officials in contact with the public.

Jean Baillargeon, Consultant in strategic communication

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