Sunday, October 02, 2005

PFAW: Pandemic Flu Awareness Week

October 3 - 9 is Pandemic Flu Awareness Week. We planned it a month ago but in the meantime the world has suddenly became aware of pandemic flu. Aware but not there yet. So there's more work to do on "awareness."

There are many ways to get attention. One way is to scare people, use fear. It is the wrong way. Fear drives people apart. Fear of the "other," the infected one. It drives them into their caves, afraid. But you can also get people's attention by trusting them and offering them something they need: the truth about something important to them and their families.

The Reveres are public health people. The great challenge for global public health at the beginning of the twenty first century is coping with epidemic infectious disease in a highly interconnected world. It is a task we have to do now without any significant leadership, locally, nationally, internationally, professionally. So it's time for a new model of public health planning.

Pandemics have two main consequences. One is medical or biological, the one that gets all the attention. Even more important, though, are how people react. We can work together to get through a bad patch, the proverbial neighbor helping neighbor. Or we can retreat and separate. Everyone for themselves.

Cooperation depends on mutual trust and respect. Without them we get the kind of breakdown in social order that is always a looming possibility. It happened in 1918 and it could happen again.

So we launched the Flu Wiki. The Wiki not only provides a wealth of information but its foundation is built on cooperation, mutual respect and mutual need. A Wiki format invites everyone to lend a hand, edit, write, correct, emend, whatever is needed. We will be better prepared and be able to get through this better if we can harvest the collective wisdom that exists in such abundance in our communities.

If you're not sure what this means or how it works, hop on over and read the explanation after the Directory links on the Main page. Meanwhile, we ask other bloggers to join us. Grab the logo on this post and slap it up on your blog.