Response to Pandemic (H1N1) 2009 Influenza in Australia - Lessons from a State Health Department Perspective

By Weeramanthri, Tarun S.; Robertson, Andrew G. et al. | Australian Health Review, November 1, 2010 | Go to article overview

Response to Pandemic (H1N1) 2009 Influenza in Australia - Lessons from a State Health Department Perspective


Weeramanthri, Tarun S., Robertson, Andrew G., Dowse, Gary K., Effler, Paul, V, Leclercq, Muriel G., Burtenshaw, Jeremy D., Oldham, Susan J., Smith, David W., Gatti, Kathryn J., Gladstones, Helen M., Australian Health Review


The epidemic emerges overseas

The influenza pandemic first emerged in April 2009, with a report of large numbers of young adults with serious respiratory illness in Mexico, and almost simultaneous identification of a new swine-origin influenza virus circulating in both Mexico and the USA.1 Initial reports of deaths were above 100, and the World Health Organisation (WHO) first announced a 'public health emergency of international concern', and later declared a full blown pandemic on 11 June 2009 after the disease had spread globally.2,3

If one could have chosen a country in which to survive a pandemic, Australia surely would have been it. As an island continent with defined borders, a developed world health system (including specialist public health and laboratory capacity), current and exercised pandemic plans, existing stockpiles of antiviral medications and protective equipment, and local capacity to mass produce a vaccine quickly, Australia should have performed well. So how did it all turn out?

Was the level of planning adequate?

Pandemic planning had been stimulated by events in the Asia- Pacific region, including the emergence of SARS (in 2003) and avian (H5N1) influenza (2004 onwards), and arrangements had been tested in large-scale pandemic exercises in 2006 (Exercise Cumpston) and 2008 (Exercise Sustain). National planning documents included an Australian Health Management Plan for Pandemic Influenza4 (AHMPPI, published in 2005 and updated in 2006 and 2008), and a whole-of-government National Action Plan for Human Influenza Pandemic5 (NAP, published in 2006 and updated in 2009), which included detailed pandemic governance arrangements.

Several national committees were key to governance: the Australian Health Ministers' Conference; the Australian Health Protection Committee (AHPC), which includes Chief Health Officers from all States, Territories and the Commonwealth; and the National Pandemic Emergency Committee (NPEC), which includes representatives from first ministers' departments (Prime Minister, Premiers and Chief Ministers).

How well was the initial response coordinated in Australia?

Both the AHMPPI and the NAP were the result of extensive and collaborative national effort from all levels of government and multiple other stakeholders over several years. The AHMPPI described several discrete response phases (Table 1), with a list of key questions and decision points in the various phases. Whilst lessons were learnt from Exercise Cumpston, it was recognised that the governance and communication (public and interjurisdictional) mechanisms laid down for a complex emergency, within a complex Federal system, could only be fully tested in an actual pandemic.

The DELAY phase was declared almost immediately in Australia (28 April 2009). In the subsequent weeks, between emergence of the disease in North America and the first case in Australia, the Commonwealth Government exercised its clear responsibilities for quarantine and border measures and prepared for expected use of the National Medicines Stockpile. It also ordered potentially enough vaccine from the pharmaceutical company CSL to vaccinate every Australian, anticipating that this would be ready within 3-6 months. Border control measures were instituted at international airports, including positive pratique of incoming aircraft, health declaration cards for passengers and crew, and health screening by thermal scanners and border nurses. The implementation of such measures was dependent on State health department capacity and workforce, as State employees act as agents for the Commonwealth for human quarantine, with the State providing the nurses to work at the airports, and the Commonwealth undertaking to reimburse this cost.

There was a flurry of policy work over the first few weeks, entailing almost daily teleconferences, which utilised the national committee structure, including key expert groups such as the Communicable Diseases Network Australia (CDNA) and the Public Health Laboratory Network, both subcommittees of AHPC. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Response to Pandemic (H1N1) 2009 Influenza in Australia - Lessons from a State Health Department Perspective
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    New feature

    It is estimated that 1 in 10 people have dyslexia, and in an effort to make Questia easier to use for those people, we have added a new choice of font to the Reader. That font is called OpenDyslexic, and has been designed to help with some of the symptoms of dyslexia. For more information on this font, please visit OpenDyslexic.org.

    To use OpenDyslexic, choose it from the Typeface list in Font settings.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.