January 14, 2020

EPIC Exchange

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Don't keep this great resource to yourself! Please share it with your colleagues and networks. If you would like more information on Emergency Preparedness and Response, visit CDC's Emergency Preparedness & Response website.

Webinar Announcement

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In an emergency, how do you share potentially life-saving information with those people who are hardest to reach? The answer—sometimes the only answer—is by working with partners who can reach those hard-to-reach populations. Please join CDC’s Emergency Partners Information Connection on January 29 at 1 p.m. ET for a webinar on communication partnerships for public health emergencies. Topics will include how to plan and build partnerships, how to make partnerships mutually beneficial, and how to work with partners to share information with those people who need it most. Click here to learn more about this webinar.

Learning Opportunities and Resources


Resources for Flu Season – Vaccine Finder and MedFinder

While flu is difficult to predict, CDC flu forecasts suggest national flu activity will remain elevated for the next several weeks so it’s not too late to get vaccinated. It’s also important to remember that antiviral drugs can treat flu illness and should be given as early as possible to people who are very sick and people with flu symptoms who are at high risk of developing severe flu illness like pregnant women, young children, older people, and people with certain long-term health conditions. Locate vaccine at www.vaccinefinder.org and find a pharmacy that can fill your antiviral prescription at https://medfinder.org

Reproductive Health in Emergency Preparedness and Response

In an emergency, the needs of women of reproductive age (aged 15-44 years), particularly pregnant and postpartum women, introduce unique challenges for public health and clinical care. This course from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) helps address those needs and describes the challenges in surveillance of this population. It also contains practice exercises and resources related to the prevention and treatment of pregnant and postpartum women for selected infectious diseases.

ASPR TRACIE Exchange Issue 9: Preparing for and Responding to Chemical Incidents

The Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) Technical Resources Assistance Center and Information Exchange (TRACIE) helps meet the information and technical assistance needs of people whose work relates to public health emergency preparedness and response. In their most recent newsletter ASPR TRACIE discusses planning, responses, and lessons learned specific to chemical incidents. They also interviewed several professionals to learn more about emerging threats, and past and current challenges in chemical incident response. Use this information to help you create a plan for chemical emergencies.


EPIC Exclusive: CARE

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Gisele is a Community Based Surveillance Focal Point partnering with CARE to improve prevention and early detection of disease in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). 


What is the mission of your organization?

CARE works around the globe to save lives, defeat poverty and achieve social justice. Founded in 1945, CARE has its roots in emergency response, initially providing assistance to people living in communities affected by World War II. Today, CARE has the dual mandate of working to respond to life-saving humanitarian needs, while supporting long-term solutions to injustice.

What is the role of your organization in a public health emergency?

In emergencies, CARE focuses on supporting food and nutrition security, sexual and reproductive health, shelter and water, sanitation and hygiene sectors, as well as cross-cutting areas including gender and cash and voucher assistance. Gender in emergencies is at the center of CARE’s approach to humanitarian action.

Much of CARE’s work is rooted at the community-level. In public health emergencies such as cholera outbreaks, CARE supports activities such as risk communication and community engagement, which is often integrated into larger programs to prevent disease spread.

With the support of CDC’s public health emergency preparedness grant, CARE is working to enhance community-based surveillance (CBS) and risk communication to prevent disease by integrating these components into existing programs and approaches in high-risk communities where CARE operates.

In DRC, we piloted this approach in the Kasai region in an area that was experiencing a cholera outbreak. After the pilot started, the strengthened CBS then supported the early detection of measles cases in the same community, helping to prompt a timely response. CARE has started similar work in South Sudan as part of Ebola preparedness efforts and in support of strengthening early detection of disease outbreaks of a wider variety. We see potential for lessons learned from these experiences to inform more entry points for CARE to contribute in this space.

How do you plan for emergencies?

As CARE is most often responding in countries where we have an existing presence, we collaborate with local partners to develop emergency preparedness plans. These plans are updated annually and are based on the highest risks that are identified in a given country. The planning process includes the development of minimum preparedness actions and aims to expedite responses when emergencies occur in coordination with local authorities and other stakeholders.

What is one experience or lesson learned that you have from an emergency response?

Invest in preparedness and also anticipate the need to be flexible and adapt approaches based on the changing context. It is important to participate in coordination platforms to share information and jointly work toward improving the effectiveness of the response.

What is one piece of advice that you would give to other EPIC partners?

Engage diverse members of communities to support the planning, implementation, and monitoring of emergency responses – including women, youth, and other groups that may be underrepresented in consultations. Continue this engagement and work with communities to design approaches, monitor issues, and identify solutions so that responses are best suited to meet the needs of everyone affected.


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