Preparing for and responding to a pandemic requires coordinated actions and communications by all levels of government and all segments of society. To address this need, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in partnership with other agencies are collaborating on international preparedness and response measures. Since 2005, USAID has partnered with PAHO to support avian and pandemic influenza preparedness activities in the Caribbean by developing and testing national influenza pandemic plans, by training and equipping local and national outbreak response teams, and developing hospital pandemic plans as well as advocacy beyond the health sector.
As part of this initiative a toolkit for municipal-level pandemic influenza preparedness and response has been developed by a number of agencies working with USAID, to support pandemic influenza preparation in the Latin America and Caribbean region. These include the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) - Naval Medical Research Center, Management Sciences for Health’s Stamping Out Pandemic and Avian Influenza (STOP AI), Technical Assistance to Non-Governmental Organizations (TANGO), and Links Media.
The primary audience for the toolkit is made up of those individuals with the authority to undertake the actions recommended by the toolkit: municipal leaders and response leaders, including government leaders such as the mayor and the mayor’s staff, local government authorities, as well as leaders and first responders in the community, the private sector, schools, and civil society. The secondary audience is decision-makers outside of municipal government, such as the national disaster authority for each country or an entity that can link the national and local levels.
The toolkit’s main objectives are to (i) help improve municipal-level response capabilities by mapping out key issues and possible actions and by supporting and enhancing the ability of a municipality to respond effectively and (ii) build community resilience by providing information for authorities to deliver to households. The guiding principles are to: