NOTE: The pictures in this post were taken at the 2007 and 2008 Texas State-Level Pandemic Influenza Modified Full-Scale Exercises.
The recent spread of influenza A (H1N1), more commonly called “swine flu,” has brought preparedness for such events to the forefront.
Are local public health officials and their partners in the local public health system prepared for events such as this recent swine flu phenomenon? If so, how did they become prepared?
They participate in training, of course.TEEX pandemic flu training:
For more than three years our National Emergency Response and Rescue Training Center has facilitated pandemic influenza preparedness through planning assistance and mass prophylaxis training. The mass prophylaxis preparedness training originally started with a grant in 2004 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and now the course is fully funded by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
Mass Prophylaxis is the capability to protect the health of the population through the administration of critical interventions (antibiotics, vaccinations, antivirals, etc.) in response to a public health emergency in order to prevent the development of disease among those who are exposed or are potentially exposed to public health threats.
The centerpiece of TEEX’s pandemic influenza training is a course called “Bioterrorism: Mass Prophylaxis Preparedness and Planning.” This course is a guide for local health officials and their partners in the local public health system to coordinate plans to provide mass distribution of pharmaceuticals for the jurisdiction as they relate to the Division of Strategic National Stockpile (DSNS) program.
The purpose of this course is to enhance a jurisdiction’s preparedness and emergency response efforts by developing (or revising) a plan addressing an all-hazards approach towards mass prophylaxis. The course is delivered by two public health professionals and consists of a combination of lectures, small group activities, and a tabletop exercise.
Evaluated by the Texas A&M Health Science Center’s School of Rural Public Health, the course awards 16 contact hours of continuing education for doctors, nurses and public health professionals. This year we have conducted twenty-one deliveries of this course all across the USA, trained over 600 people, and has over thirty course deliveries scheduled between now and the end of November.
The feedback for the course delivery has been extremely positive:
Mary Lynne Thames, PhD, LSU Health Science Center School of Public Health: “I just wanted to thank you for a wonderfully successful two days of training. We received nothing but positive feedback from those in attendance. I look forward to another opportunity to bring you and your team this way.”
Susan McNabb, Volunteer Coordinator, Chattanooga-Hamilton County Health Department: “I wanted to drop you a line to let you know what a fantastic job you all did with the training and exercise last week. The health department staff, as well as the outside agencies’ representatives who attended, all learned a tremendous amount. Our EMA [Emergency Management Agency] Director is already in the process of scheduling a meeting with the mayor which will include our health department administrator.”
For more information about pandemic flu preparedness training, contact Phil Allum: firstname.lastname@example.org.