PAHO Assists U.N. Panflu Efforts
The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) is taking a lead role in coordinating pandemic preparedness efforts among United Nations agencies in Latin America and the Caribbean.
U.N. agencies have formed preparedness teams throughout the region, and PAHO's country representatives have been asked to head these teams in 24 countries. In addition, PAHO is procuring antiviral drugs, antibiotics, personal protective equipment, and other supplies for all U.N. agencies in the region.
PAHO and other agencies of the U.N. System are developing and implementing internal plans based on the U.N. Medical Services Staff Contingency Plan Guidelines for an Influenza Pandemic. The plans are intended to ensure that the agencies can continue to carry out their core activities in their host countries should a pandemic occur, and to protect their staff and dependents.
PAHO is also continuing to support its member countries' development of national pandemic preparedness plans, which every country in the region now has in some stage of development or implementation.
PAHO organized a workshop in Panama earlier this year to evaluate and further develop Central American countries' preparedness plans, and similar workshops are scheduled to be held in Barbados in July (for Caribbean countries), in Uruguay in August (for South American countries), and in September for the Andean countries.
In addition, PAHO's Health Services Organization unit organized a Regional Meeting on Preparedness and Response of Health Services to Pandemic Influenza in Bogotá, Colombia, in April. PAHO has also held workshops on risk communication for avian and pandemic flu (see "Newsbriefs").