Fight against monkeypox: "We must not be in a false health democracy"

Fight against monkeypox: “We must not be in a false health democracy”

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The associations of those affected by monkeypox regret that the executive has not set specific objectives to fight against the epidemic that has been raging since spring. Camille Spire, president of Aides, the largest association in the fight against AIDS in Europe, regrets that we have not learned all the lessons of the Covid crisis.

The strategy to combat the monkeypox epidemic should soon be revealed by the government. “A seven-point plan” on preventive actions, the vaccination campaign and the European consultation. This was the “beginning of the response” provided last Thursday to the associations mobilized in the prevention of this disease. Meeting every week with health and research agencies, as well as scientific societies, they are concerned that they have “very few answers” to their questions, and wonder if there is not a “lack of vision on the part of the health authorities” in the fight against this epidemic. who has been furious since May.

We are in consultation with the health authorities, but not in “co-construction” yet!

“The first objective of the government would be to contain the epidemic, so that it does not spread. The second would be to eradicate it”, explains Camille Spire, president of the Aides association, who welcomes the establishment of these work meetings since the beginning of the epidemic. However, she points out that the roadmap has not been communicated to them: “It is a pity, they will not reach the end of the process. Today we are in a more representative consultation, even in the regions, which was not the case during the Covid crisis, but we are not yet in “co-construction”!

What’s next after this announcement?

After a period in which the number of cases doubled every fortnight (50,000 cases worldwide, more than 3,600 in France on September 1), the monkeypox epidemic came to a halt in early September in many European countries, including France, Canada, and parts of the United States. These encouraging signs would point to the possibility of eliminating the epidemic in Europe, said Hans Kluge, director of WHO Europe, during a recent press conference, provided, however, that efforts are stepped up “urgently”.

What’s next after this announcement?

Avoid the “snowball effect” in the general population, otherwise you risk exploding

To counteract the spread of the epidemic in France, it was decided at the beginning of August to extend the interval between the administration of the two doses (until then 28 days) in order to maximize the vaccination coverage of the populations most at risk – at least 250,000 people – with a first dose: men who have sex with men and do not have exclusive relationships, trans people, sex workers and professionals who work in places of sexual consumption. The associations that fight against AIDS and against LGBT+ discrimination urge public administrations to do everything possible to achieve this goal before September 23. “The goal is to contain the epidemic as much as possible. It is necessary both as few cases as possible in the currently most affected communities and to avoid “the snowball effect” in the general population, otherwise it runs the risk of exploding”, explains the president of Aides. Hence the importance of prevention messages “aimed at populations at risk” and the places they frequent, “more than a general campaign”, explains Camille Spire.

“We see that there is a slowdown in the number of new cases and it is probably due to people being more careful. Information circulates well in large cities, particularly in Ile-de-France, but not everywhere. We use the most efficient channels. On social networks it works like thunder! Monkeypox is not a “gay” disease, nor is it a sexually transmitted infection (STI). If today it affects the vast majority of homosexual men with several sexual partners, women and children are also contaminated.

What’s next after this announcement?

What’s next after this announcement?

There is a lack of consideration, in the end, of our proposals.

Almost 70,000 people have already received a first dose of the vaccine. After a start criticized for its slowness -although France vaccinates more than its neighbors-, the campaign is deployed today with vaccination in pharmacies extended to the entire territory, in accordance with the request of the associations. Last week the bar of 15,000 weekly vaccines was exceeded for the first time. Still insufficient, for the associations, which aim for 37,000 vaccines per week to reach the target population, at the end of the summer.

Also read. Monkeypox: there are also psychological consequences

“Today we are waiting for a return from the High Health Authority (HAS) to know the maximum time to respect between two doses. Spacing the two injections allows a first dose to be administered to more people, thus compensating for the lack of arms to vaccinate. We also want to know if and when those who have gotten sick should get vaccinated. This is important information that we need quickly to build the rest of the strategy”, explains Camille Spire, who regrets that we have not learned all the lessons of the Covid crisis:

“As an expert association in community health, we notice today that we are more in a collaborative work approach with the actors, but there is a lack of consideration, in the end, of our proposals. This is unfortunate because it is very important to think long term, with the next epidemics. These work spaces must be protected, concerned and involved from the beginning, even in the regions: both through meetings and on the ground with the associations, even in the regions, and the various partners. We cannot remain in a hospital-centric system. We must not be in a false health democracy. »

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