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GAO Testimony – Influenza Pandemic: Gaps in Pandemic Planning and Preparedness Need to Be Addressed

At a hearing before the House Committee on Homeland Security, GAO staff testified on U.S. planning and preparedness efforts to address a potential influenza pandemic. Among other findings, GAO staff testified that “efforts are underway to improve the surveillance and detection of pandemic-related threats, but targeting assistance to countries at the greatest risk has been based on incomplete information, particularly from developing countries.”

White House announces H1N1 Flu Preparedness Summit

The White House announced that it will hold an H1N1 Flu Preparedness Summit on July 9, 2009 “to launch a national influenza campaign by bringing federal, state and local officials, emergency managers, educators and others together with the nation’s public health experts to build on and tailor states’ existing pandemic plans, share lessons learned and best practices during the spring and summer H1N1 wave, and discuss preparedness priorities.”

U.S. to provide Pan-American Health Organization with antiviral medication to combat H1N1 influenza

Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Kathleen Sebelius “announced that the United States will provide 420,000 treatment courses of Tamiflu (Oseltamavir) to the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) to fight the novel H1N1 influenza in Latin America and the Caribbean.”

CRS Report – The 2009 Influenza A(H1N1) “Swine Flu” Outbreak: U.S. Responses to Global Human Cases

This report is an update to the May 26th report, “The 2009 Influenza A(H1N1) ‘Swine Flu’ Outbreak: U.S. Responses to Global Human Cases,” which provides an overview of the U.S. role in the global response to the H1N1 influenza outbreak highlighting efforts by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Agency for International Development, and summarizing potential issues for future consideration.

Statements by Administration officials on WHO decision to declare H1n1 virus outbreak a pandemic

Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Department of Homeland Secretary (DHS) Janet Napolitano released a joint statement on the World Health Organization’s (WHO) decision to declare the H1n1 virus outbreak a pandemic. The statement provided a broad overview of the Administration’s previous and ongoing efforts to address the outbreak.

President Obama requests additional funding and authorities for pandemic flu response

In a letter to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, President Obama referred to the recent H1N1 flu outbreak and requested that an additional $2 billion be included in the FY 2009 Supplemental Appropriations bill in order “to enhance our Nation’s capability to respond to the potential spread of this outbreak.”

The President also requested that Congress grant him the authority to access existing funds for potential flu preparedness and response efforts including:

- Funds “totaling up to one percent of amounts appropriated in division A of Public Law 111-5” (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act);

- “One percent of discretionary funds available to the Department of Health and Human Services in fiscal year 2009;” and

- “Funds appropriated under the heading ‘Biodefense Countermeasures’ in the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act, 2004 (Pub. L. No. 108-90).”

CRS Report – The 2009 Influenza A(H1N1) “Swine Flu” Outbreak: U.S. Responses to Global Human Cases

This report provides an overview of the U.S. role in the global response to the H1N1 influenza outbreak. The report highlights efforts by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Agency for International Development and summarizes potential issues for future consideration.

Secretary of HHS Sebelius addresses World Health Assembly

Secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius, addressed the Plenary Session of the World Health Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland. In her comments, Secretary Sebelius dicussed the international response to the recent outbreak of the H1N1 virus. Secretary Sebelius also discussed President Obama’s new Global Health Initiative stating that “our world demands a new, integrated approach to public health – one that seeks to understand and target the many factors that that can threaten the lives and livelihoods of all our citizens.”