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Pandemic planning framework released

Hon Pete Hodgson
Minister of Health

16 November 2005 Media Statement

Pandemic planning framework released

A planning framework which will form the basis of New Zealand's response to a potential influenza pandemic was released today by Health Minister Pete Hodgson.

The New Zealand Influenza Pandemic Action Plan, Appendix III of the National Health Emergency Plan: Infectious Diseases is being developed by the Ministry of Health, with wider government sector input to address critical areas of a national pandemic response.

"This is a working document to assist government agencies, District Health boards and communities across New Zealand with their planning," Pete Hodgson said.

"There is a vast amount of work being done by the Ministry of Health and other government agencies to flesh out the details of the plan, so it's important to emphasise that this document is not final.

"New Zealand can pride itself on being better prepared than most countries. However, it is equally true that until we have a pandemic virus, we simply don’t know how it will affect people.

"All we can do until then is anticipate the variety of ways it could unfold and plan how best to mitigate those effects.''

Pete Hodgson said the plan would be updated as work progresses and as input was received from the health and other sectors. The plan will also be updated to reflect the changing international situation.

The plan anticipates five basic approaches for dealing with a pandemic: Plan for it, Keep it Out, Stamp it Out, Manage it and Recover from it. Different scenarios are envisaged for each approach.

"No one knows with any degree of certainty exactly how a possible influenza pandemic will play out, but we do know that it is important to plan for the possibility it will have a significant impact on New Zealand,'' Pete Hodgson said.

ENDS

See... Pandemic_plan.pdf

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