Responding to the continued threat of pandemic flu and the needs of public health workers, the American Public Health Association released its blueprint for strengthening the nation’s pandemic preparedness this week.
APHA's Prescription for Pandemic Flu calls for resources for the public health work force as well as clear federal guidance on pandemic preparedness. The measures are necessary because the nation's already overburdened public health workers may lack the resources they need to effectively respond to a flu outbreak, according to APHA.
To build America's flu pandemic preparedness, the APHA blueprint calls for action such as:
* increased funding for states, localities, hospitals and public health labs so that they can expand their ability to respond to pandemic flu;
* increased investment in the public health work force, so there are enough people ready to serve on the front lines during a flu pandemic or the annual flu season;
* emergency Medicaid coverage to ensure that uninsured Americans will get the care they need during a flu pandemic;
* guidelines for the use of non-drug interventions, such as handwashing, isolation and quarantine;
* new methods to purchase, distribute and track vaccines and antivirals;
* an emphasis on occupational and mental health issues when creating pandemic planning and response efforts; and
* laws and policies that will allow health officers to make decisions about quarantine and isolation.
The new blueprint is the latest effort by APHA to help ready the nation for pandemic influenza. The Association's Get Ready campaign, which includes fact sheets, podcasts and other material, is helping the public prepare for a flu pandemic and outbreaks of other emerging infectious diseases.
What do you think? What else do we need to be ready to face a flu pandemic? Post your comments.