Representatives Lowey (D-NY) and Emanuel (D-IL) are circulating a Dear Colleague letter to be delivered to the President asking him to update the Congress on the National Strategy on Pandemic Influenza. Released 8 months ago, the strategy includes over 300 activities designed to prepare the nation for a potential influenza pandemic. However, many of the activities will also prepare the nation for other public health emergencies including bioterrorism events. Since the activities are tied to benchmarks, Congress is looking to ensure that plans are moving forward.
Please join us in sending the attached letter to President Bush requesting an update on the progress made in federal efforts to prepare for a possible pandemic flu outbreak.
Public health experts tell us it is a question of when, not if, an influenza pandemic will strike. The World Health Organization (WHO) has reported that the avian flu has infected 258 people worldwide, killing 154 of them, with the most recent deaths occurring in Egypt just last month.
On May 3, 2006, President Bush released the federal government’s National Strategy for Pandemic Influenza Plan (NSPI) to coordinate federal efforts to prepare for a potential outbreak. The plan contains more than 300 activities to be performed by various federal agencies that are tied to specific accountability measures and timelines.
In our judgment, the eight months since the release of the NSPI are sufficient for the federal government to have made significant progress in executing at least a portion of its directives. While the status of many of the NSPI recommendations are listed on the federal pandemic flu website, not all of the relevant information has been made public.
Congress has a responsibility to carefully monitor the progress of the Administration in achieving the goals of its own plan. If you would like to sign this letter or have any questions, please contact Jean Doyle in Rep. Lowey’s office at [email protected], or Lauren Aronson in Rep. Emanuel’s office at [email protected]