Tuesday, September 13, 2005

US "plan" still in draft form

WHO is warning once again that an influenza pandemic could happen at any time. And that at this stage, where sustained human to human transmission has not yet been detected, time is of the essence.
Her warning now comes as avian flu has spread across Asia and to Europe's doorstep.

"Buying time will allow us to fast-track pandemic vaccine production. It will allow governments to put in place a host of emergency public health measures that will reduce mortality and morbidity, and social and economic disruption," Chan said in an interview


"This is perhaps the only time since 1968, which was the last pandemic, that we are getting signs, symptoms and warnings from nature ... More and more birds are dying in different parts of the world -- this is the kind of signals and early warnings that we are referring to," she told reporters in late July.

Urgently preparing for an outbreak should save lives.

But only 40 of WHO's 192 member states have drawn up pandemic preparedness plans, with varying degrees of scope. (Reuters)
Question: What country started on its pandemic plan in 1993, put it out as a "draft" in 2004, where it was evident it needed a great deal of work to operationalize, and promised a final form by last month but hasn't delivered?

Cut the budget for the levees. Cut the budget for public health. I think I see a pattern.