Preparedness for Infectious Diseases

In 2014, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey http://azgovernor.gov issued an Executive Order establishing the “Council on Infectious Disease Preparedness and Response” or referred to as the Council www.azdhs.gov/phs/oids/advisory-council.

The Council is to develop and implement a coordinated plan so that the state’s public health infrastructure would be prepared for the potential outbreak of infectious diseases such as Ebola, influenza, enterovirus, tuberculosis, and other emerging infectious diseases.

Last December, a Preliminary Report was sent to the Governor titled “Governors Council on Infectious Disease Preparedness and Response” www.azdhs.gov/phs/oids/advisory-council/documents/gcidpr-preliminary-report.pdf.

The Council recommended providing current information on Ebola for healthcare workers, provide state leadership and the public with information on infectious diseases, and create a communication process that is clear, reliable, and transparent.

One important achievement is the development of the Arizona Health Alert Network www.azhca.org/files/2013/10/AzHCA_azhan-Presentation-revisedSB2.pdf distributing information via email to stakeholders and partners. The system maintains lists of contacts that allow targeted messages to go to specific stakeholder groups.

Four levels of messages can be sent such as health alerts needing immediate action, health advisories to provide important information that may not require immediate action, health notices with general information not requiring immediate action, and health updates with information regarding an incident or situation unlikely to require immediate action.

To communicate with public health and healthcare partners to ensure preparedness for a coordinated response to Ebola, the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) Office of Infectious Disease Services www.azdhs.gov/phs/oids  maintains a web site containing information and updates the information when necessary to include current outbreaks and situations.

The ADHS Ebola preparedness webpage www.azdhs.gov/preparedness/ebola/ebola-preparedness contains healthcare and laboratory resources, a series of toolkits for healthcare facilities, emergency information for first responders, schools, and businesses, plus provides links to federal and international resources.

Based on the need for specific guidance or protocols for healthcare workers in different stages of evaluating or treating a patient with Ebola, a process map was created providing a three-dimensional step-by-step resource.

The map links to county, state, and federal sources to provide guidance, information, and resources. Once finalized, the map will be posted on the ADHS website with specific links in each of the toolkits to facility and provider specific points on the map.

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