245669 Level of preparedness for pandemic influenza among key leaders in Brazos County

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Elizabeth Kaster, MS , Department of Health & Kinesiology, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX
Ranjita Misra, PhD , Health and Kinesiology, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX
Background: The outbreak of the 2009 pandemic influenza A (H1N1) necessitates evaluation of the public health preparedness efforts including the development of pandemic preparedness plans. This qualitative study examined the preparedness level for pandemic influenza among key leaders in Brazos County, Texas involved in the development of the Brazos County Pandemic Influenza Preparedness Plan (BCPIPP).

Methods: Ten key leaders were each recruited via e-mail or phone to participate in a semi-structured interview to provide information on their preparedness, barriers, and improvements to the BCPIPP. Transcriptions of interviews were analyzed for salient themes.

Results: Seven key leaders completed the interview (70% response rate). Four main themes that emerged during the thematic analysis were: vaccinations, communication, logistical issues, and evaluations/feedback. The vaccinations theme included barriers with limited production and distribution, public perceptions regarding the different vaccine types, and issues with mass vaccination clinics. Communication included the need for better education and communication both within departments and agencies as well as among stakeholders, risk communication to the general public, and better relations with the media. Logistics included limited resources and personnel, problems incurred with laboratory samples, the need for clinics and exercises, and erroneous planning. The evaluation/feedback theme included the purpose, shortcomings, merits, and recommendations for the plan.

Conclusion: Recommendations for increasing preparedness of public health leaders include improving plans such as BCPIPP, addressing biosecurity issues, public health education, use of technology, and funding and research. All of these advocate for better evaluation of preparedness plans and greater representation by the behavioral sciences.

Learning Areas:
Protection of the public in relation to communicable diseases including prevention or control
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
1.) Describe the barriers to executing the BCPIPP 2.) Discuss improvements and recommendations for the BCPIPP

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to be an abstract author on the content. I am responsible because this is the work that I researched for my master's thesis.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.