NGA holds pandemic outbreak workshops
The Washington-based National Governors Association (NGA) has held the first of a series of workshops about preparing for pandemic disease outbreaks. State and local officials from Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin participated in the workshop, which was held in Minneapolis on Tuesday and Wednesday.
The workshop included a simulation designed to test interagency communication, existing response protocols and strategies for confronting a pandemic of a disease such as bird flu. “Aggressive and comprehensive planning at the state level is essential,” says NGA Vice Chairman and Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty. “While the focus [of the workshop is] on pandemic preparedness, your efforts here will pay dividends in terms of our preparedness for all kinds of threats, whether they are disease outbreaks, natural disasters or terrorist attacks.”
A co-sponsor of the workshops, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, estimates that a pandemic could kill more than 200,000 people and make 130,000 more very sick. Worker absenteeism could affect many public services, such as utilities, law enforcement and health care.
The next workshop is scheduled for May 21 – 23 in Scottsdale, Ariz. Officials from American Samoa, Arizona, California, Guam, Hawaii, Nevada and the Northern Mariana Islands are expected to attend. More information is available at www.nga.org