New England tribes work toward pandemic preparedness
| 09.21.2006 | 07:52:11 | Views: 2877 | ID:
September 21 '06: Tribal leaders in St. Regis Mohawk Reservation are working on a pandemic flu plan that coordinates with their adjoining reservation in Canada, Indian Times reported Wednesday.
"With about 25,000 members stretching on both sides of the US/Canada border, its two government support each other when cut off from outside help," while some tribal first responders are receiving federal training support for pandemic flu preparedness. Other New England-area tribes are pushing for emergency preparedness plans as well.Sarah Lee Diabo, the director of Emergency Planning for the St. Regis Mohawk tribal government in the US told the Times, "I think we're further along that other First Nations. ... We've got to try to educate people ... but not get them in a panic." Efforts in St. Regis include "keeping and updating maps of the location of tribal elders with special needs, such as oxygen or dialysis," as well as those on the reservation stocking up on water and food. A population count, which is required by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to help with vaccine distribution was completed recently as well, Diabo told the Times. In Connecticut, the Mohegan Indian Nation "is taking a different track. It has closely coordinated its pandemic planning with state and local health emergency services." Tribal Vice Chairman Lynn Malerba told the Times, "We already interact closely with the state on multiple levels," and the tribe has cooperated with the Department of Homeland Security with biohazard training. In the case of an outbreak of avian or other pandemic flu, Mohegan tribal leaders said they would convert some of their casinos into medical treatment centers. Additionally, the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation in Connecticut said they would follow federal and state guidelines for the pandemic responses.
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