A joint plan between the United States, Canada and Mexico for pandemic influenza preparedness was released this week during the North American Leaders Summit.
The plan, known as the North American Plan for Animal and Pandemic Influenza (NAPAPI), supports a faster and more coordinated response to influenza pandemics across the continent as a way to enhance the health and safety of residents of all three nations. The framework considers health, agriculture, security, and foreign affairs sectors of all three countries to collaborate on pandemic preparedness and response.
“H1N1 provided a stern reminder that diseases don’t respect national borders and can spread rapidly in our interconnected world so protecting health requires cooperation and collaboration among countries,” explained Dr. Nicole Lurie, assistant secretary for preparedness and response in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and a rear admiral in the U.S. Public Health Service. “NAPAPI represents a trilateral commitment to enhancing health security across the continent.”
Moving forward, the goal is to develop and implement more specific actions that strengthen trilateral emergency preparedness and response capacities and capabilities, such as interconnected systems for surveillance and early warning of disease outbreaks and protocols for transporting laboratory samples.
The three countries also will conduct joint epidemiological investigations of viruses that could cause human influenza pandemics, as well as outbreaks of animal influenza that pose a threat to human health. The plan lays the ground work for mutual assistance during a response, such as sharing personnel as well as medical countermeasures such as vaccines, drugs, and diagnostic tests. It also addresses border and transportation issues, including containment measures for air and maritime travel along with land border crossings.
The full plan is available at www.phe.gov/NAPAPI.