An Evaluation Tool for National‐Level Pandemic Influenza Planning

Published date01 June 2019
Date01 June 2019
doi: 10.1002/wmh3.297
© 2019 Policy Studies Organization
An Evaluation Tool for NationalLevel Pandemic
Influenza Planning
Stephanie McKay , Matthew Boyce, Shieh ChuShin, FengJen Tsai, and
Rebecca Katz
The historical threat of pandemic influenza and the circulation of novel influenza viruses have led
countriesto strengthen their efforts in pandemicinfluenza preparedness planning. A cornerstone of these
efforts is the creation of a comprehensive national plan that addresses all of the capacities required to
prevent, detect, and respond to novel influenza outbreaks. In 2017 and 2018, the World Health
Organization issued updated guidance for national pandemic planning efforts, based on lessons learned
from the 2009 influenza A (H1N1)outbreak, the International Health Regulations (World Health
Organization, 2005a), and other developments in health security. We have created a tool to assess
nationallevel plans based on these updated guidelines. This tool will allow for countries to identify both
strengths and weaknesses in their national plans, identify capacities and sectors that require
improvement, and to helpframe the updating ordrafting of plans in linewith the most updatedguidance.
KEY WORDS: health security, influenza, preparedness
Pandemic influenza represents a significant threat to global health security, with
the potential to kill several hundred thousand to several millions of people once a virus
begins to circulate (Gates, 2017; Horby, 2018). The 1918 Spanish influenzapandemic
resulted in an estimated 50100 million deaths and held major economic consequences
(Johnson & Mueller, 2002). Although pandemic influenza outbreaks have only
occurred three times in the past centuryin 1957, 1968, and 2009the twin
phenomena of urbanization and globalization have resulted in a situation in which
the world is more vulnerable than ever before (Alirol,Getaz,Stoll,Chappuis,&
Loutan, 2011; Webster & Govorkova, 2006; World Health Organization [WHO], 2005c).
The circulation of novel influenza viruses in animal populations that have a
risk of human pandemic potentialsuch as H7N9, H3N2, and H5N1have put
influenza preparedness at the forefront of health security efforts. An effective and
early response to a novel influenza virus outbreak could contain an outbreak prior
to it escalating into a pandemic. Accordingly, several international efforts have
sought to mitigate the risks posed by a future influenza pandemic through
preparedness efforts. These include the International Health Regulations (WHO,
2005a), the Global Health Security Agenda, and the WHO preparedness standards
(WHO, 2005a, 2005b, 2005c).

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