Countries of the Americas Examine Response to Pandemic H1N1 2009 and Challenges Ahead

Miami, FL (PAHO) — More than 100 participants from the countries of the Americas held two days of meetings to examine the Region's response to Pandemic Influenza and look at future challenges.

"We need to see what we did right and to prepare for what lies ahead," said Dr. Jarbas Barbosa, PAHO's Manager for Health Surveillance, Prevention and Control. Dr. Jean-Luc Poncelet, Manager for Emergency Preparedness and Disaster Response, added that all the countries, whether from island nations in the Caribbean or highly affected areas from the Southern Cone, have a lot to share.

For two days the participants worked in groups to cover the topics of coordination and management, surveillance, International Health Regulations, the response of the health services, risk communication and vaccines. The participants pointed to the high level of preparedness that came from training for an influenza outbreak. At the same time they said that protocols weren't always followed.
Additional points from the meeting will be presented to the ministers of Health at their annual Directing Council meeting in Washington in two weeks.