Pandemic Influenza Preparedness progress and achievements

The progress and achievements of 4 years of implementation of the Pandemic Influenza Preparedness (PIP) Framework Partnership Contribution in 5 recipient countries in the WHO European Region have recently been featured in WHO/Europe’s Public Health Panorama.

An influenza pandemic is a global epidemic caused by a new influenza virus, to which the human population has little or no pre-existing immunity. The previous 4 pandemics, the most recent of which occurred in 2009, are estimated collectively to have caused up to 50 million deaths, including 20–40 million attributed to the 1918 H1N1 pandemic.

Influenza pandemics are impossible to predict and a new pandemic is considered inevitable, so preparedness is essential. Despite the extensive efforts made to prepare for a pandemic prior to 2009, one of the conclusions of the International Health Regulations (IHR) Review Committee, following the 2009 pandemic, was that “The world is ill-prepared to respond to a severe influenza pandemic”. The PIP Partnership Contribution Implementation Plan addresses this issue through support to Member States in building the laboratory and surveillance capacities that are essential to respond to a pandemic.

The recent paper describes the approach taken and the achievements made in the implementation of the plan’s laboratory and surveillance component in Armenia, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan in 2014–2017.