Influenza of Flu is identified as an illness that is fatal in nature. Moreover, it is contagious in nature and is caused in terms of respiratory tract infection of the influenza virus. On annual basis, the influenza virus is responsible for spreading of infection and also amounting to large number of deaths around the world. The influenza virus is spread either in terms of respiratory tract infection or in terms of contact spread through the touch of hands (Van-Tam & Sellwood, 2009). The influence rendered by Influenza Virus leads to different types of health complications illustrated as follows.
The different types of influenza virus affecting a person’s health are identified as A, B and C. ‘A’ and ‘B’ type influenza viruses are held to be mainly responsible for potential infection and spread of the disease. The C type of virus causes common-cold in children. Influenza is identified as a Pandemic that potentially affects large number of people around the world.
The report would essentially focus on developing of a plan regarding development of a response concerning pandemic influenza. It would also focus on highlighting the different surveillance and communication strategies regarding reducing the influence of the pandemic influenza. Further, the report would also focus on development of effective control strategies for reducing the spread of the influenza pandemic.
Effective planning is undertaken by different sectors of the Australian government for helping in tackling the emergence of the pandemic. A serious of different types of action plans are undertaken by the health sector and also by the Australian government as a whole and also on a national and jurisdictional basis for guiding the response in a coordinated fashion regarding the incidence of the influenza epidemic. The plans are developed for generating a strategic framework for guiding and cultivating needed preparedness and also enhancing the level of response for countering the influenza pandemic(Commonwealth of Australia , 2009).
The outlining of the plan from the viewpoint of the Australian government as a whole reflects the Australian Health Management Plan for Pandemic Influenza (AHMPPI) that is supported by the NAP or The National Plan for Influenza Pandemic of Humans. The NAP is structured for outlining and clarifying the roles and responsibilities of the different levels and departments of the Australian government. Further, the NAP also contributes in the development of the National Pandemic Emergency Committee (NPEC) that helps in addressing the different social and economic effects rendered by the insurgence of the pandemic (AIHW, 2012). Preparedness and response strategies concerning the countering of the influenza pandemic are essentially categorized under three functional heads outlined as follows.
Development of committees for strategic decision making activities.
Advisory committees constituted by experts.
Development of operational or functional committees.
AHPC or the Australian Health Protection Committee is constituted as the pivotal or the primary committee for generating strategic decisions concerning health associated emergencies. AHPC also helps in developing and carrying out inter-governmental communication in a coordinated fashion for addressing the pandemic (Talbot & Verrinder, 2014).
The planning for Influenza Pandemic in Australia is essentially based on the severity of the influenza pandemic that occurred in the region during 1918. The planning is developed based along different phases as the influenza pandemic tends to emerge and affect humans and thereby spreads both along the Australian and other international regions. The phasing system outlined by the AHMPPI helps in evaluating that whether the pandemic is only restricted in the Australian region or has spread to other global countries. The existence of a phasing system associated only to the Australian markets ideally contributes in determining the different types of actions that are required to be undertaken in an independent fashion (FitzGerald, Tarrant, Aitken, & Fredriksen, 2016). It is thereby not influenced by the phases concerning checking the spread of the pandemic in other global markets and essentially governed by the World Health Organization (WHO). Further, the outlining of the different pandemic phases also helps in identifying the response strategies that are needed to be undertaken along each such stage and also the communication plan regarding informing both the general masses and also to the health authorities in Australia. However, the different phases outlined by AHMPPI fail to rightly reflect on the pattern of implementation of the diverse set of response strategies associated with different levels of influenza pandemic spread along Australia (Commonwealth of Australia, 2011).
Planning for Pandemic Influenza Response
Australia is identified to be a signatory of IHR or the International Health Regulations 2005. Under the purview of IHR, Australia has agreed on reporting on diverse incidents associated with the emergence of pandemic and also promotes needed surveillance and monitoring for preventing the spread of the disease both along national and international frontiers. The surveillance activities concerning influenza pandemic are identified to be complex in nature. A routine surveillance system is required to be designed for identifying the severity of the influenza pandemic. However, it is understood to be quite critical regarding identification of specific cases of influenza pandemic. The surveillance activity is thereby required to specifically focus on understanding and evaluating the burden of influenza pandemic on the greater community and also on the impact on the different types of health resources (Van-Tam & Sellwood, Pandemic Influenza, 2013).
An indicator is identified regarding number of cases outlined regarding influenza pandemic associated to a social community. Sentinel surveillance systems are put into place for collecting data regarding influenza like illness from an identified sample of doctors or medical practitioners. The indicator can help in providing needed data regarding number of individuals affected by influenza pertaining to a larger area and also the number of individuals that have consulted the doctor for such epidemics within an effective period (Australian Government , 2008).
However, issues regarding the nature and quality of data representations affect the efficiency and productivity of the surveillance activities. The staffs belonging to the laboratory units and also the medical practitioners are held accountable for notifying the cases regarding influenza pandemic to different public health bodies. For the above issue the Sentinel Laboratories in Australia are only highlighted for providing needed information to the surveillance team regarding the number of tests conducted regarding influenza-like-illness or ILI and results gained thereof. It also focuses on generation of reports concerning the tests where the results are gained to be positive for influenza (Commonwealth of Australia , 2009).
To this end, the AHMPPI tends to identify the importance for conducting surveillance activities both on an international and domestic scale. Further, an annex regarding preparation of draft surveillance was carried out by AHMPPI that essentially outlined the objectives of surveillance along different phases, outlining of information required along each of the different phases, data that is required to be collected for providing the information required and also the process through which data would be collected along with identification of individuals from whom the data is required to be gathered (Davies & Youde, 2016). On the incidence or onset of pandemic it is required to identify the number of cases and also gain confirmation regarding laboratory testing of viruses. Subsequently, effective details are required to be furnished for each of the different cases (Commonwealth of Australia, 2011).
Regarding the use of technology for conducting of surveillance activities, NetEpi was developed during 2009 for providing needed detailing regarding the outbreak of a pandemic and other such serious illnesses. Recording of information on a standardized basis for each of the different cases are required to be collected through the use of NetEpi. However, an effective interface between the NetEpi and jurisdictional systems were required to be developed but failed gained due prominence (Commonwealth of Australia, 2011).
Surveillance of Pandemic Influenza Response
The information is collected by the Department of Health and Ageing (DoHA) for generating responses to the following inquiries.
Identification and determination of the phase at which Australia falls regarding Pandemic Influenza.
Determination of the current as well as the anticipated impacts of the pandemic on the health services and as well as on the local communities.
Evaluation of the manner the measures had been implemented and the manner the implementation of the measures have helped in reducing the spread of the influenza virus (Bennett, 2010).
The different health professionals associated with the health bodies of the Australian government focus on gathering potential information and thereby in reporting the cases to the concerned health authorities. Further, the health professionals are also involved in reporting of adverse events that tend to emerge owing to the administration of antivirals and other types of vaccines. Moreover, they also focus on conducting surveys of the different stakeholder groups and thereby report the survey reports regarding perceptions of the pandemic influence and also the different types of control measures that are being undertaken thereof. Again, the public is also identified as a potential source of information generator that focuses on reporting illness related information to concerned health authorities (Australian Government , 2008). A snapshot of collection and analysis of information is rendered as follows.
The government bodies in Australia focus on ensuring that the different health professionals are accessible to accurate and timely information regarding the pandemic situations, assumptions concerning pandemic influenza and finally gaining access to potential research based inferences regarding patient care and also interventions associated with development of public health. Timely alerts are generated by the health departments to primary care providers through the use of fax machines, websites, use of electronic mails and also the use of different broadcasting systems by different health and medical practitioners for generating needed information (Ryan, 2008). Further, other types of communication networks like the use of private pathology laboratories are also incorporated for generation of effective information (Swendiman, 2010). The health professionals can take active measures regarding advising and informing the masses regarding the personal care and protection required to be undertaken for effectively countering the effects of the pandemic(Commonwealth of Australia , 2009).
The national governments of Australia with other regional and state governments in the region are collaborating for development of communication strategies and techniques and also the formulation of plans for delivering consistent and effective messages on a nationwide basis on the event of emergence of a pandemic. Timely and reliable data are furnished by the government bodies in Australia to educate and inform the public and also the concerned businesses and industries (Australian Government , 2008).
A communication strategy for the health sector is developed on a comprehensive basis by DoHA. The communication strategy of DoHA is established on a flexible note that helps in identifying the manner different types pandemics tend to develop and thereby to provide information for tackling such with needed clarity and accuracy and on a timely basis. Different types media activities concerning print, broadcasting, and social, digital and also the outdoor media are required to be planned and duly executed for informing the masses on health issues. Data regarding the generation of different types of information are required to be developed by health experts for generation of expert opinion and feedback on breakup of such pandemics (Heath & O'Hair, 2010). The information required to be ideally rendered by the DoHA is essentially divided along four main categories like happenings on an international basis, information regarding the disease and the areas or regions in Australia affected by such, providing advice regarding infection control and the manner of preparing for the pandemic and finally the manner in which the health sector is responding for controlling of pandemics (Commonwealth of Australia, 2011).
On the outbreak of the Pandemic Influenza during 2009 effective responses or set of control strategies were implemented for controlling the spread of the epidemic. Identification and testing conducted on unwell passengers at different airports contributed in learning about the cases that carried the influenza virus. These cases were admitted to hospitals and kept in quarantine wards (Dietz & Black, 2012). Similarly, effective protocols were also underlined regarding the identification of pandemic influenza infection in cases of passengers on-board and also to assist and encourage other passengers not identified with ILI to get tested. The same would contribute in generation of effective investigations and also the control of transmission of influenza virus from one individual to another (Gullion, 2014). However, effective reviews and recommendations are being planned thereof for reviewing the policy, the functional protocols and also the different types of communication measures that are required to be undertaken both along the air and sea ports for controlling the spread of the influenza pandemic(Commonwealth of Australia , 2009).
The website of DoHA during 2008 had published different sets of guidelines that are required to be followed by individuals on a routine basis for helping in controlling the spread of the influenza virus infection. The hands are required to be washed and made dry in a regular and proper fashion. Individuals are required to rightly cover their mouth and nose in the event of coughing and sneezing to help in controlling the spread of infection (Dutta, 2008). Further, individuals that are identified to be carriers of the influenza virus are required to stand and sit at the back of others for reducing the chances of transmission of the influenza virus. Again, individuals identified to be carriers of the influenza virus and others are required to cover their faces with protective equipments or use personal protective equipments or PPEs (Commonwealth of Australia, 2011). The same would help in reducing the chances of further transmission of the influenza virus at times of sneezing and coughing and also in protecting others from the harmful impacts of the virus respectively. However, the personal protective equipments or PPEs are required to be rightly worn and disposed off in an effective fashion. Infection control for children is required to be carried out with effective intervention of parents (Jones, 2011). Parents are required to teach their children regarding washing of hands and also covering of mouths and noses at times of coughing and sneezing respectively for reducing the incidence of infection (Commonwealth of Australia, 2011).
The report effectively contributed in generating an effective outbreak response concerning the planning of an effective response regarding pandemic influenza, development of surveillance and communication strategies for pandemic influenza. The report also highlights the different types of control strategies that are required to be undertaken for reducing the impact and spread of the pandemic influenza along both Australia and overseas regions.
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