Pandemic influenza preparedness in
Ana Mensua, Sandra Mounier-Jack and Richard Coker
Communicable Disease Policy Research Group, Health Policy Unit, Department of Public health and Policy, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, UK.
Health Policy and Planning Advance Access published May 1, 2009
Published by Oxford University Press in association with The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
Health Policy and Planning 2009;1–8 doi:10.1093/heapol/czp019
Full text at: http://bit.ly/AsZJI
“…..The threat of a human pandemic of influenza has prompted the development of national influenza pandemic preparedness plans over the last 4 years. Analyses have been carried out to assess preparedness in Europe, Asia and
Published national pandemic influenza preparedness plans from Latin American countries were evaluated against criteria drawn from the World Health Organization checklist. Plans were eligible for inclusion if formally published before 16 November 2007.
Fifteen national plans were identified and retrieved from the 17 Latin American countries surveyed. Latin American countries demonstrated different degrees of preparedness, and that a high level of completeness of plans was correlated to a country's wealth to a certain extent. Plans were judged strong in addressing surveillance requirements, and provided appropriate communication strategies directed to the general public and health care personnel.
However, gaps remained, including the organization of health care services’ response; planning and maintenance of essential services; and the provision of containment measures such as the stockpiling of necessary medical supplies including vaccines and antiviral medications.
In addition, some inconsistencies and variations which may be important, such as in border control measures and the capacity to contain outbreaks, exist between country plans—issues that could result in confusion in the event of a pandemic. A number of plans remain developmental in nature and, as elsewhere, more emphasis should be placed on strengthening the operability of plans, and in testing them. Whilst taking account of resources constraints, plans should be further developed in a coherent manner with both regional and international imperatives. …..”
Most Latin American countries now have national strategic pandemic influenza preparedness plans.
Many plans are developmental in nature, although a minority includes more specific and operational guidelines to support pandemic response. Plans should be harnessed to generic preparedness.
Surveillance and communication areas are fairly well addressed while the health care sector and the use of public health interventions, notably related to pharmaceutical interventions, are ill-prepared for pandemic influenza. Contingency planning for essential services is largely absent from plans.
Operational planning needs further strengthening in most plans.
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