Outbreak of Influenza A/H1N1
A new influenza virus (A/H1N1), that was originally identified in México and the southern U.S. at the end of March 2009, has rapidly expanded thoughout the world. Until 12 May, more than 5900 cases had been diagnosed in 30 countries, with 62 deaths. On 29 April, Dr. Margaret Chan, WHO's Director-General, declared Phase 5 of the WHO Pandemic Alert. This announcement was made after the confirmation of evidence of sustained human-to-human transmission in at least two countries in the same region, Mexico and the U.S. In light of this, PAHO has encouraged its Member States to start implementing their national influenza plans.
LSS/SUMA System Aids Mexican Health Authorities
Mexico’s health authorities are using LSS/SUMA, a humanitarian supply management system developed by PAHO/WHO, to effectively manage supplies related to the response to influenza A/H1N1. The system was initially set up on 26 April at the National Center for Epidemiological Surveillance and Disease Control (CENAVECE) in Mexico City. This office is charged with coordination and response to the epidemic and manages the strategic national reserve for an influenza pandemic.
Initially, LSS/SUMA was used to gather information on national and international donations as well as purchases of medical supplies and medicines. Later, it was agreed to use LSS/SUMA to manage all supplies received and distributed in response to the emergency.
A four-day training course was held for health staff from 20 priority states in Mexico on how to set up and use the LSS/SUMA system so that the states could register and control all supplies received and distributed at that level. Although several of these states have their own management systems, LSS/SUMA will complement these by adding features for the management of supplies in emergencies.