I remember the time when I worked in a refugee setting during the Covid pandemic. The most significant ethical principals was the decision-making concerning isolation and quarantine measures for infected cases and their contacts. As you may be aware, refugee environments are often densely populated, with shelters situated closely together, posing a high risk of rapid infection spread within a camp setting. In such circumstances, implementing isolation and quarantine measures was essential to curb the outbreak. However, a major concern developed when considering the impact on families, as restricting their movement during isolation or quarantine meant there would be no one available to assist care for basic needs, such as food and income. Thus, we collaborated with other partner agencies and local community leaders to support fresh food and ration supply during the isolation/quarantine period.
Local public health authorities strongly advocated for our organization to enforce isolation and quarantine for positive cases in the camps as a preventive measure against the spread of COVID-19. Meanwhile, we attempted to build trust and confidence within the community, actively engaging them in collaboration with our organization for isolation/quarantine activities. This involved effectively communicating the risks and providing crucial information transparently, with integrity and in a timely manner. Transparent, integral, and timely communication proved to be crucial in fostering community engagement and disseminating information regarding isolation and quarantine. The majority of individuals were more likely to accept and adhere to such decisions when the benefits of isolation/quarantine outweighed the drawbacks.
Secondly, the ethical principle is about when the Covid-19 vaccine started to roll out in the camp setting. As justice is one of the ethical principals in population health maximization, there must be fairness in the distribution of healthcare resources to mitigate disparities. Our responsibility was also to guarantee that every individual received the appropriate type and dosage of the vaccine without discrimination based on personal characteristics. We consistently conducted health education programs, disseminating information about vaccine benefits and potential side effects. This approach aimed to empower individuals to make informed decisions and willingly participate in vaccination campaigns. In such a way, we achieved a certain number of targets in the Covid vaccination program.