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Do the
public health strategies that have been developed for the handling of SARS
prepare the public for the possibility of future pandemics? The 2003 outbreak
that became viral around the world was definitely one of the most defining
professional experiences for Canadian Public Health administrators and professionals.

Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome also commonly known as SARS is a virus that can
affect people as well as Animals. SARS was first reported in North America,
Asia, South America and Europe before the outbreak was able to be contained. This
outbreak was a wakeup call for the international community which showed how
severe and how rapidly a disease like SARS can infect and spread. Since the
SARS outbreak Canada has worked hard to protect citizens from the public health
impact of possible pandemic outbreaks.

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According
to the WHO (World Health Organization), infectious viruses and diseases are more
commonly emerging. Almost a total of 40 new diseases have been discovered that
were unknown to the world a generation ago, and this number continues to
increase.

 

Public
Health and Safety is not a sole responsibility, it is shared amongst Canada at
all levels of the system being; local, provincial, and federal. These
responsibilities are to monitor any emerging diseases and possible threats and
prepare the public. People who obtain Pubic Health authority analyze any new
disease emerging, assess its risk to Canadian Citizens and proceed to issue an
alert when there is a serious threat of the virus becoming a pandemic.

 

Since the
SARS outbreak the Agency has worked very hard to improve and strengthen Canadas
public health strategies in the event that a pandemic breaks out. At this time
the Canadian Public Health Service was established which placed highly
qualified public health officers where they are needed most to help with not
only daily medical issues, but any possible emerging outbreaks. After this, the
Agency developed a program called the Skills Online which has helped many
public health practitioners worldwide with core health skills and knowledge. The
Agency is also responsible for the development of electronic systems that are
capable of monitoring, reporting, and investigating any public health events
across Canada. This is important as this system can allow administrators to
collect and analyze health information to prepare for outbreaks. Informing the
public is an extremely important step in managing any public health threats and
combatting a pandemic. Since the outbreak of SARS, Health Canada and the Agency
were able to uncover a “Strategic Risk Communication Framework”. This is able
to guide Health Canadas work in trying to develop good communications for the
public. This framework advocates facilitating talk to enable authorities
to make well-informed decisions for effective, responsible and ethical risk
management. This approach to communicating risk issues has been extensively
applied to pandemic influenza planning and response. 

 

Overall,
the Agency has coordinated and collaborated with public health professionals,
industry organizations as well as non-governmental organizations to produce and
collect different strategies to combat any type of arising pandemic. 

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