Using the government for infection control
While often our government controls are met with ambivalence; both with our expectations and, our fears. Behind the scenes,the federal government has concrete steps that have been initiated. A formed movement is in place, to focus our national efforts and to protect the health and safety of the American people.
“Historical experience supports the decision to prepare for a wide range of scenarios as it now relates to the H1N1 influenza.” “This outbreak is the first pandemic of the twenty-first -century, and the first in 40 years.”
One might wonder how such an undertaking works, and the evolving scenarios that it might address. Perhaps it will only be fully assessed retrospectively.
The “National Framework for 2009-H1N1 Influenza Preparedness and Response” established a strategy, including time lines for H1 N1 preparedness and response readiness based on four “pillars”
However, it does appear that this framework might become an applicable standard in the area of Infection Control for any other health care emergency.
A summarized and condensed overview of each “pillar” of focus:
1] Surveillance: Optimum efforts to acquire timely and accurate information. A situational awareness of an evolving disease and the implications and impact on critical sectors that affect operational and policy decisions.
The ready date for enhancing International surveillance was set for July 1, 2009 to ensure situational awareness and to prepare for the potential for complex decision making and preparedness for a national response should a more serious outbreak occur in the fall.
Most of this included co-ordination with Global efforts to enhance international surveillance.
2] Mitigation measure: Interventions designed to slow the spread of disease and reduce the impact on infection and illness on individuals and communities. September 1, 2009 began the implementation of Mitigation measures. Strategies were developed to facilitate the implementation of protocols, hospital guidance. Actionable plans were made. As well as an economic analysis. Refined methods of sustained school closures, development of stockpile anti-viral medications to be used as a counter measure in a severe pandemic.
Addressing medical needs include reducing the number of people presenting to formal health care settings through:
*Messaging, web/telephone triage and care.
*Dissemination of clinical care guidelines to community based providers.
*Enabling hospitals to have adequate supplies, staff, and space. To provide adequate care to the greatest number of individuals possible at the highest level of care possible.
3] Vaccination: Actions to secure safe and effective vaccines and to “ready a national vaccination program” This is to begin on a voluntary basis and a further approach if warranted.
On October 15, 2009 a mass vaccination campaign began.
All necessary actions were taken to support a successful program if warranted and as soon as vaccines become available. The logistics for distributing vaccine and vaccinating priority groups. And to ensure the provision of sufficient supplies.
* Record keeping to ensure adverse events monitoring.
4] Communication and Education: A co-ordinated campaign to foster action across all levels of government. Including the private sector, the entire health care sector, and faith-based organizations and individuals .
On July 9, 2009, the launching of a Communication and Education Campaign began. This was vertically integrated preparedness across all levels of government and beyond.
Successful communication has been made to the public and is on going. Assurance that information is delivered and includes addressing the non-English speaking public. The key to this being successful includes a convergence of key information to facilitate public health information.
The Mission: The Federal government’s primary “mission” during an influenza outbreak is to protect the health and safety of American people at home, and abroad.
Strategic Objectives to accomplish this mission:
*Slow the spread of the disease, mitigate the impact of infection and prevent death.
* Sustain critical infrastructure and mitigate the impact of the pandemic on the economy and functioning society.
How can we better use the government in infection control? Is a question that will be answered retrospectively. This is an example of preparedness, designed to protect the health and safety of the American people. If it serves us well. Then, we the American people, once again should be grateful and have another reason to feel blessed.
* National Framework for 2009-H1N1 Preparedness and Response