Thursday, January 18, 2007

Information crucial if new flu pandemic hits

The Irish Medical Times says the Government’s response to a flu pandemic must ensure the open flow of information about the pandemic to the public, according to two documents published this week.

The Department of Health and the Health Service Executive (HSE) published the National Pandemic Influenza Plan as well a draft of an advisory document by the Pandemic Influenza Expert Group. A final draft of the group’s advice is expected in April.

The purpose of the National Pandemic Influenza Plan is to limit the effects of any pandemic and to inform the public about pandemic influenza; explain what the Government and the health services are doing to prepare for a possible pandemic; and to give information on what members of the public need to do if there is a pandemic. HSE CEO Prof Brendan Drumm said all sectors of society have a role to play in preparedness and response.

“If a pandemic arises each of us have a role to play in ensuring that it is managed,” he said. The pandemic plan is based on eight core elements of response. These are communications strategy, telephone hotline, public responsibilities, surveillance, antiviral drugs, pandemic vaccine, reorganization of health services, and essential supplies.

For additional information on Pandemic preparedness from a business continuity perspective, please feel free to contact Pitsel & Associates Ltd. Calgary, Alberta, (403) 245-0550. “The time to plan is when you have time to plan.”

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