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Learning from practice:  Equity in influenza prevention in Manitoba

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See other resources from our 'Learning from Practice' series.

During the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic, the need for an equity approach came sharply into focus for Manitoba Health, Healthy Living and Seniors (MHHLS).  With the support of its Health Equity Unit, Manitoba’s response was unique among Canadian provinces in identifying Aboriginal peoples as a distinct equity group related to H1N1 exposure.

This story is framed using the four roles framework for action to reduce health inequities.

Role #1  Assess and report on health inequities and effective strategies .  Due to the ready availability of epidemiological data, described in this section, MHHLS was able to quicly implement measures to address inequities.

Role #2   Modify and orient interventions .  Manitoba used epidemiological evidence to prioritize First Nations, Northern and isolated communities for early distribution of the H1N1 vaccine, post-exposure anti-viral medication and infection prevention and control supplies.  The province also adapted and used a Health Equity Assessment Tool to review influenza response planning throughout the province.

Role #3  Partner with other sectors .  Partners were engaged at governance, policy and technical levels.  Partnership forums included a Tri-Partite Table with members from federal and provincial government departments, the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs, the Manitoba Métis Federation, and representatives of regional health authorities; a policy-level Equity and Ethics Table, and appointment of a Aboriginal Health Advisor.

Role #4    Participate in policy development .  A number of significant policy changes grew out of Manitoba’s influenza experience, including the Health Equity Action Tool that is now used in the design of all new MHHLS initiatives.

Use this resource to

  • Develop an equity-focused influenza prevention strategy
  • Put in place conditions that enhance the likelihood of success for such a strategy
  • Find epidemiological data systems and a health equity tool that can assist in the selling and implementation of such a strategy.

National Collaborating Centre for Determinants of Health. (2015). Learning from Practice: Prioritizing populations for influenza prevention at Manitoba Health, Healthy Living and Seniors
Antigonish, NS: National Collaborating Centre for Determinants of Health, St. Francis Xavier University.

Tags: Competencies & organizational standards, Healthy public policy, Infectious disease, Assess and report, Modify and orient interventions, Participate in policy development, Document, Case Study, Learning from Practice