Which sectors should be involved in public health emergency preparedness, response and recovery?: a RAND modified consensus procedure among European union national experts
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National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (Netherlands) Netherlands
Publication date: 2023-04-26
Popul. Med. 2023;5(Supplement):A988
Background and objective:
There is a clear need for a better understanding of optimal configurations and timing of multisectoral collaboration during public health emergencies (PHE). With this study, we aim to gather European national experts’ views on which sectors should be involved in public health emergency (PHE) preparedness, response and recovery.

The study was designed based on the RAND modified consensus procedure, consisting of three consecutive steps. Firstly, a questionnaire was conducted amongst European national experts involved in the COVID-19 pandemic, to collect views on (1) sectors that should be involved in PHE preparedness, response, and recovery, and (2) recommendations on how to improve national PHE to include multisectoral collaboration. Secondly, a hybrid expert meeting took place to discuss the inclusion or exclusion of sectors and recommendations for which consensus was not meet in the first questionnaire. Lastly, a second questionnaire was conducted with the aim of reaching consensus for the items discussed during the meeting.

According to the 26 national experts from 12 countries that participated, the following sectors should be involved in all PHE phases: (1) Agriculture, forestry, fishery and the environment, (2) Human health industry, (3) ICT service activities, (4) (Human) Transportation and Points of entry, (5) Education and training, (6) Energy and water supply, sewerage and waste management, (7) Media and communication, (8) Governmental institutions, (9) Experts, (10) Civil Society, (11) Veterinary activities, and (12) Chemical industry. Additionally, the sector “Personal service, administrative support and security investigation activities” should also be included in the response phase. All 10 suggested recommendations on how to improve national PHE plans to include multisectoral collaboration were accepted.

This study provides guidance on sectors to consider when designing and/or evaluating national PHE plans, as well as recommendations on how to integrate multisectoral collaboration in preparedness and response plans.