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September 8, 2009
Minister Releases Report that Provides Road Map to Strengthen H1N1 Response
The province is investing more than $47 million as a part of a five-point plan to focus Manitoba’s pandemic response specifically for H1N1 influenza, Health Minister Theresa Oswald announced today.Oswald launched the plan and released a report to Manitobans detailing what has been learned about H1N1 so far, how the health-care system has responded, as well as ongoing fall preparations.
“We know that Manitobans are concerned about H1N1 and the impact it can have on their health, their families and their communities,” said Oswald. “Manitoba is making important investments that support our health-care sector and protect the health of Manitobans. It’s also important to remember that we all have a part to play to reduce the spread and severity of this illness by being informed and following public-health advice.”
The minister said the province’s new investments will focus on prevention, treatment and care for Manitobans and support for the province’s health-care workers at the front line of the H1N1 pandemic including:
· protecting Manitobans through prevention: more than $21.8 million to purchase, store and distribute vaccine for H1N1 pandemic influenza;
· caring for Manitobans: more than $5.7 for additional supplies of antivirals and to increase intensive care and surgical capacity by hiring staff and purchasing more equipment and supplies;
· supporting the front lines: more than $16.8 million to purchase additional masks, gloves, gowns and other protective equipment for health-care providers; and
· working for Manitobans: more than $3.1 million for additional laboratory testing equipment and additional public-health staff and to provide information to the public about the pandemic and personal precautions; and
· keeping Manitobans moving: from home flu kits and workplace preparations, there is a role for everyone to prepare for H1N1 pandemic flu.
“Manitoba responded quickly to H1N1 in the spring when we saw increased demands placed on our intensive-care units, medevacs and our health-care workers,” said Oswald. “Our experiences in the spring have helped to refine our plan and adapt our approach as we prepare for another wave of flu.”
The report highlights the province’s response to H1N1 so far and gives an overview of the plans for this fall. While it is difficult for health officials to predict what will happen, Manitoba’s response will be directed by what has been learned about the virus so far including:
· providing information for Manitoba families about H1N1 prevention;
· supporting regional health authorities and health-care workers as they respond to increased demands on the health-care system;
· working with First Nations and Métis organizations to provide medicine kits, share information and support their pandemic response;
· mounting vaccination campaigns for seasonal and H1N1 flu;
· maintaining the provincial stockpile of antivirals and other supplies;
· monitoring schools for flu-like illnesses and absenteeism;
· holding regular discussions with the federal government to co-ordinate resources and services; and
· working with municipalities to ensure critical services continue.
The minister noted that Manitoba will now allow nurse practitioners to prescribe antiviral treatments, based on provincial clinical-care guidelines distributed to all health-care providers.
The province’s incident command structure, which has been in place since April, co-ordinates the province’s H1N1 response, monitors the disease, identifies challenges and helps respond quickly to emerging issues.
Manitoba will continue to work closely with regional health authorities, the federal government, First Nation and Métis communities, and other partners to strengthen primary care.
In May 2009, a public attitude survey on H1N1 was conducted. The survey, also released today, was undertaken to better understand what Manitobans know about the virus, prevention and treatment.
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