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Thread: •Sixth Pandemic Planning Update Report Released (Jan 9)- Pandemic Planning Update VI

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    •Sixth Pandemic Planning Update Report Released (Jan 9)

    Pandemic Planning Update VI

    “The history of pandemics is not so much the history of health as it is the history of humanity. When pandemics strike, they cause massive sickness and terrible loss of life. They even reshape nations.”

    – HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt
    “The Federal government has a role, as do state and local governments, not-for-profit organizations, the business community large and small. We are all in this together. The challenge remains.”

    – Dr. William Raub,
    Science Advisor to the HHS Secretary

    “A pandemic is a health problem but it’s such a big health problem, it’s a societal continuity problem.”

    – Dr. William Raub,
    Science Advisor to the HHS Secretary
    “We work with our counterparts in Mexico and Canada. We share data. We make sure the labs can define the virus. We share knowledge about surveillance. ”

    – Admiral Joxel Garcia,
    HHS Assistant Secretary for Health
    “It’s not going to be a Federal response as much as it’s going to be a local response. So every community has to be prepared. ”

    – Mayor Tim Woerther, Wildwood MO

    Today, many people mistakenly think influenza pandemics are a thing of the past, but influenza has struck hard in the era of modern medicine – much harder than most people realize. And it will strike again. Pandemics are hard things to talk about. When one discusses them in advance, it sounds alarmist. After a pandemic starts, no matter how much preparation has been done, it will be inadequate.

    In November 2005, President Bush mobilized the nation to prepare for an influenza pandemic. He called for the deployment of a $7.1 billion national pandemic plan. Congress responded quickly. As Secretary of HHS, I was given responsibility to implement the plan.

    Ultimately, the key to preparing for a pandemic is to develop, stockpile, and prepare to distribute vaccines and antivirals – vaccines to prevent people from becoming infected by a virus, and antivirals to treat them if they are infected. But, how to achieve this? Developing and stockpiling vaccines is not a job for any one government. It is not even a job for any one nation.

    Rather, it requires cooperation among nations, cooperation among different government entities within nations, and cooperation between governments and the private sector. Pandemic preparedness requires that all of these different elements work together. The better they do so, the better prepared we will be as a nation.

    Local preparedness is the foundation of pandemic readiness. In addition to State governors, leadership must come from mayors, county commissioners, school principals, faith leaders, college presidents, corporate planners, and the entire healthcare infrastructure.

    Pandemic Preparedness Planning
    The story of our country’s pandemic preparations is, at its center, a story about individuals and their sense of commitment to a common goal. It is a story of shared responsibility, of people working together to prepare their families, their communities, workplaces, cities, and states for the eventuality of a pandemic.

    At each level of this combined effort, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has taken steps so that those involved had the information, guidance, and support to work together to prepare for a pandemic. Individuals, too, within the Federal government are working together to take the broader actions that can only be done from a central, national vantage point.

    After three years of intense effort by these individuals and groups throughout the country, many results of this unique national effort are now emerging. At the same time, the next steps needed to continue this effort and improve upon it are coming into sharper focus.

    Monitoring and Surveillance
    As part of the strategy to diminish the global risk of pandemic influenza, HHS has made significant progress in building international monitoring and disease surveillance capacity, which focuses on the current threat posted by the H5N1 avian influenza virus now circulating in birds in many parts of the world.

    HHS is actively engaged with States and with countries around the globe to help minimize and contain the impact of an influenza pandemic. Should such a pandemic occur, the international community will be better prepared than it was three years ago, due in large part to HHS funding and technical assistance that has contributed to stronger worldwide disease surveillance networks, improved laboratory capacity to analyze virus samples, and better trained workforce personnel.

    Through its own programs and in close coordination with other Federal agencies, HHS provides training, direct assistance, supplies, reagents, and technical support to the World Health Organization (WHO), to ministries of health, and to non-governmental organizations. Over the last three years, HHS has expanded its collaborative work, funding, and technical assistance to include countries across Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America. In August, HHS convened a meeting of scientists and public health professionals from 39 of those countries. The participants met to track progress and lay the groundwork for future preparedness and response activities.
    HHS/CDC developed an inventory tool to help countries assess their levels of pandemic influenza preparedness and response. Over the last several months, CDC staff worked with leaders and technical experts in 42 countries to complete this inventory. The results will help evaluate current preparedness status across the globe and then measure progress against that baseline, toward increased preparedness over time.

    Rapid response funds primarily support avian influenza activities such as training for regional and national personnel, as well as exercises for mobile rapid response teams at six global disease detection centers around the world. These centers also maintain stockpiles of antivirals and personal protective equipment, build laboratory and epidemiological capacity, and direct on-the-ground surveillance programs and early warning systems.

    Teams of U.S. scientific experts join WHO teams to work with local scientists and public health officials and investigate suspected cases of human transmission of the H5N1 virus. To date, these teams have carried out their investigations in 12 countries in Asia, Africa, and Europe.

    As part of its goal of building local capacity, HHS has led regional workshops to provide training for country-level rapid-response teams in 112 countries worldwide. As an outgrowth of this training, China stepped up its health monitoring in this year’s seasonal flu cycle and now has 198 monitoring hospitals and 63 laboratories reporting influenza cases on a weekly basis, as of October. This increased level of surveillance will help lead to a quicker identification of a pandemic influenza strain, should it appear in China.

    The issue of virus sharing has been a contentious one for the past several years. HHS continues to hold firmly to the conviction that a strong global sample-sharing network is the best defense against an eventual pandemic. For sixty years, nations have openly and freely shared virus samples. It is one of the most important global health success stories.
    Full Details:

    Pandemic Planning Update VI




    Last edited by trimurtulu; 01-09-2009 at 07:50 AM.

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