Episcopal Church releases flu pandemic response and preparedness plan
| 02.19.2007 | 08:14:11 | Views: 3371 | ID:
February 19 '07: According to federal guidelines issued earlier this month, the focus of pandemic response should rely on the local level with state and local community organizations working to install a chain of command and communication to help keep communities running. The Episcopal Church announced their pandemic preparedness and response plans for all dioceses and parishes recently.
The Church's pandemic response and preparedness plan was developed by retired priest the Rev. Phillip Cato, who has been involved with the National Institutes of Health and National Institute of Child Health and Development. Cato's plan calls for the creation of parish-based approach of preparation. Congregations and vestries have been urged "to recruit a cadre of volunteers" to help those sickened or otherwise affected by the illness.Education on ways to prevent the spread of the illness, "social distancing" (maintaining a three-foot distance from others), noticing the possible symptoms of the flu, and equipping congregations with the information necessary to create family plans for response are some of the points of the plan. "When the flu is active within the community, the focus of education must shift to communication of practical issues such as what services are available through the church and community, how to access theses services, re-prioritzation of resources, how to physically care for flu patients at home and death/dying support," the plan's press release said. Other issues raised by the pandemic response and preparedness plan include ethical concerns such as quarantines, vaccine distribution, financial assistance, and asking whether the church has the moral obligation to help other surrounding communities that are not affiliated with the church but are affected by the pandemic. The plan was created with the assistance of Jay Lozier, MD, PhD, and epidemiologist/hematologist; Anne Dolbier, a disaster planner who has experience in public health; and a registered nurse at Johns Hopkins, Dawn Hohl.
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