Progress and shortcomings in European national strategic plans for pandemic influenza.

Bulletin of the World Health Organization

PubMedID: 18278251

Mounier-Jack S, Jas R, Coker R. Progress and shortcomings in European national strategic plans for pandemic influenza. Bull World Health Organ. 2007;85(12):923-9.
OBJECTIVE
To repeat and update our previous evaluation (2005) of Europe's national pandemic influenza preparedness plans and assess the progress that has been made.

METHODS
We assessed published national pandemic influenza preparedness plans from the European Union countries, from the two acceding countries (Bulgaria and Romania) and from Norway, Switzerland and Turkey. Plans were eligible for inclusion if formally published before 30 September 2006. We referred to WHO guidelines and used a systematically applied data extraction form. We considered plans in relation to border control measures, antiviral drugs and vaccines.

FINDINGS
Twenty-nine countries had plans that were included in the analysis, compared with 21 countries in 2005. Substantial differences existed in countries' plans for border control measures, and many plans diverged from WHO guidelines. Likewise, countries' plans on antiviral drugs and vaccines varied and operational planning remained weak.

CONCLUSION
Although progress has been made in the completeness of plans, problems remain unsolved regarding national plans' divergence from international recommendations, persisting strategic incoherence and operational limitations in relation to potentially scarce resources. Border control plans also show gaps and inconsistencies, and these are likely to be politically volatile during a pandemic.