International Centre for Infectious Diseases urges non-profit organizations
to develop pandemic plans

ICID updates online pandemic planning tools for non-profit organizations

WINNIPEG, March 17 /CNW/ - On the heels of the recent H1N1 pandemic, the International Centre for Infectious Diseases (ICID) is providing online planning tools to help non-profit organizations develop pandemic flu plans. It is urging vigilance against future waves of the virus, and advises organizations to take action now to plan for events that could threaten the delivery of service to their clients.

Although we have come to the end of the second wave of H1N1, cases are still occurring around the globe and there is still a possibility of a third wave in Canada. To help non-profit organizations prepare for possible future waves, ICID has developed businessfluplan.ca, a website featuring interactive tools that organizations can download or use online to develop their pandemic plans. The website also provides webinars, templates, presentations and advice from health and business experts.

The impact of even a small outbreak can be devastating on a non-profit organization as they are already typically thinly staffed and rely greatly on volunteers. Moreover, if a non-profit cannot perform its regular functions and duties because staff and volunteers are away ill, the people and projects it supports may also suffer.

"Vulnerable populations rely on non-profit and voluntary organizations for a range of essential services and will be especially dependent on them during a health emergency," says Heather Medwick, Acting President and CEO of ICID. "Rather than wait for another pandemic to start developing their pandemic plan, it makes sense for organizations to do that work now during a period of relative calm."

The ICID pandemic planning initiative was developed in response to studies showing that small- and medium-sized enterprises, including non-profit organizations, are not engaged in pandemic planning the way larger businesses are. It is estimated that 70% of voluntary sector groups serving high-risk populations do not have the resources to do disaster planning. Furthermore, only 50% of high-risk voluntary organizations have business continuity plans for a disaster.

ICID developed the online site specifically to cater to the needs of small business and non-profit organizations. The initiative was made possible with funding from the Public Health Agency of Canada.

A French version of Businessfluplan.ca is available at Plancontrelagrippe.ca.

SOURCE INTERNATIONAL CENTRE FOR INFECTIOUS DISEASES (ICID)

For further information: For further information: Wendy Schettler, Director, Public Health Programs, International Centre for Infectious Diseases, Cell: (204) 771-6127, Tel: (204) 943-1743, Fax: (204) 946-0927

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INTERNATIONAL CENTRE FOR INFECTIOUS DISEASES (ICID)

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