Pandemic Flu Prevention
Note: The following link is not to official Church publications, but is provided as additional resource material.
Pandemic Flu information for "Individuals and Families planning". This page is located on the Center for Disease Control Web site.
We are being warned. Do we have eyes to see and ears to hear?
Pandemic Flu Leadership Blog with Elder Nelson
As a reminder, the presenters included Russell M. Nelson, MD, PhD, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; Dennis Roche, FedEx; Greg Dworkin, MD, Flu Wiki & Flu Wiki Forum; Joseph Bocchini, MD, American Academy of Pediatrics; and Susan Crosson-Knutson, The International Association of Lions Clubs.
Greg Dworkin was the first panelist to speak and shared with the room that his initial interest in the topic of pandemic flu was generated by his children. As many of you know, he currently serves on his local and city pandemic preparedness committees and made it clear to the room that whether or not a pandemic will happen is not a question among his peers. “We look at pandemic flu as something that happens.” He shared the story behind the creation of Flu Wiki, how he and his fellow editors stepped in because there were no government resources online for pandemic flu. The initial idea was to look at what other countries were doing to plan for pandemic flu. He made it clear to people that the people online are the same people that are in the community. “They don’t think that government has all the answers, so they look to each other to pool what they know.” The conversations online reflect the thoughts and concerns of the broader public and should be mined by others. They do not presume to have all the answers, but they do know to ask the right questions.
Dr. Joseph Bocchini of the American Academy of Pediatrics, which represents more than 60,000 physicians and sub-specialists, spoke next. The mission of AAP is to help with prevention of disease and to protect the well-being of children and, therefore, think it is important to be involved in the policy planning for pandemic influenza. Bocchini said that children will be the most vulnerable in the pandemic flu and will also be transmitters, bringing the disease home to their family and are actively working with HHS and CDC. Parents will need to address the issue of school and day care closings as well as how to take care of children when they are ill. Bocchini spoke about some of the resources they have developed, including information about pandemic flu on Red Book Online. As far as pediatricians, some are personally prepared and some are not, but physicians are trusted providers of information to families and can make parents aware. His idea? When doctors give annual flu shots, they should use the time to talk about pandemic flu preparedness.
Susan Crosson-Knutson from the International Association of Lions Clubs spoke next about the Clubs’ long-standing commitment to encouraging their members to give back to their community. They recently launched the Lions Alert program, which encourages Lions around the country to prepare for an communicate with each other in the case of an emergency.
Next on the panel was Russell Nelson from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (which has 5 million members), who blew the room away with his list of 8 things that the Church has done to create a preparedness system. As he said, “The church may be in the position to contribute to national preparations.”
This is what they have done:
1) Urged members to store food, clothing, water and a small financial reserve for a three months through a pamphlet that is available in 23 languages.
Finally, Dennis Roche from Fedex talked about the fact that it was his Chairman, President and CEO, Frederick W. Smith who recognized that pandemic flu had a huge potential to wreak havoc on their global business and so they established a task force for planning. But their business infrastructure will nevertheless make it difficult. They have 275,000 employees, which will be difficult to track in case of an emergency. They are currently working on developing one common human resource policy that addresses all employees fairly, including some unique things, like what they did with Katrina (e.g., temporary reassignment) and are continuing to have more intense discussions about some of these ideas.