Influenza Pandemic: Continued Focus on the Nation's Planning and Preparedness Efforts Remains Essential, Statement of Bernice Steinhardt Director, Strategic Issues, Testimony before the Ad Hoc Subcommittee on State, Local, and Private Sector Preparedness and Integration, Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs   [open pdf - 389KB]

"As the recent outbreak of the H1N1 (swine flu) virus underscores, an influenza pandemic remains a real threat to our nation and to the world. Over the past 3 years, GAO has conducted a body of work to help the nation better prepare for a possible pandemic. In a February 2009 report, GAO synthesized the results of this work, pointing out that while the previous administration had taken a number of actions to plan for a pandemic, including developing a national strategy and implementation plan, much more needs to be done, and many gaps in preparedness and planning still remain. This statement is based on the February 2009 report which synthesized the results of 11 reports and two testimonies covering six thematic areas: (1) leadership, authority, and coordination; (2) detecting threats and managing risks; (3) planning, training, and exercising, (4) capacity to respond and recover; (5) information sharing and communication; and (6) performance and accountability."

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