UNC preparedness experts help train avian flu responders around the world
|July 25, 2006|
BANGKOK, Thailand – The way health officials respond when the first cases of avian flu are reported in their countries could mean the difference between a few contained cases and the start of a widespread outbreak.
To help health officials prepare to respond as efficiently as possible, the North Carolina Center for Public Health Preparedness has developed a “train-the-trainer” curriculum for public health professionals in Southeast Asia, who will then work with health officials in their own countries to train rapid response teams to quickly recognize, investigate and attempt to contain potentially pandemic influenza at its source.
The preparedness center was awarded a contract to do this work from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) International Emerging Infections Program, which is a collaboration of the US CDC and the Thailand Ministry of Health.
The first “International Rapid Response for Avian and Pandemic Influenza: Training the Trainers Workshop” was held July 17-21 in Bangkok. More than 100 participants from 14 countries received hands-on training in what to do within the first 72 hours of reports of a respiratory illness outbreak. Participating countries included Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Egypt, Guatemala, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Laos, South Africa, Thailand, the United States and Vietnam.
“Based on the timing of past influenza pandemics, a pandemic is a very real threat to the world,” said Jennifer Horney, MA, MPH, Assistant Project Director and Director of Training at the N.C. Center for Public Health Preparedness. “We know how critical careful planning and preparedness are to arrest a potential pandemic early. We are honored to see the curriculum that we developed in North Carolina implemented, and listen to health officials explain how they would adapt the plans to suit local needs and train public health professionals in many other countries.”
Other participants from UNC’s preparedness center were:
Center Director, Pia MacDonald, PhD, MPH, Research Assistant Professor, Department of Epidemiology also worked on the project. The NC Center for Public Health Preparedness is part of the North Carolina Institute for Public Health, the service arm of the Carolina School of Public Health.