Countering a threat of a different kind: The Pandemic Disaster Response program

Ninety representatives from Africa, Europe and the United States meet this week in Burkina Faso for the Pandemic Disaster Response Tabletop Exercise.

Countries participating include Kenya, Senegal, Cote d’Ivorie, Benin, Ghana and Togo.

The aim is to develop national, regional and continent-wide crisis response support networks and contingency plans to deal with a pandemic health crisis, such as an influenza outbreak, or other similar disasters.

The program is hosted by the government of Burkina Faso, in conjunction with USAID, the Center for Disaster and Humanitarian Assistance Medicine and U.S. Africa Command.

AFRICOM, USAID and African partner nations have collaborated since 2008 through the Pandemic Response Program to develop pandemic influenza response plans. The potential for a deadly influenza outbreak in Africa is high because of the level of cross-border travel and trade.

Besides the humanitarian disaster such an outbreak could cause, it could also have a ripple effect on regional security and stability.

Workshops similar to the one in Burkina Faso this week have also been held in Benin, Ghana, Kenya, Mali, Rwanda, Senegal and Tanzania.

We’ll bring you news from the conference throughout the week on our blog, Facebook page, Twitter feed and AFRICOM home page. Feel free to share your thoughts and ideas, as well.

Click the links below for more information on USAID, CDHAM and the Pandemic Response Program:

Center for Disaster and Humanitarian Assistance Medicine fact sheet on PRP

AFRICOM PRP fact sheet

USAID fact sheet on avian and pandemic influenza

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