Areas for action
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has a global agenda for Influenza surveillance which provides guidance and support about the control of Influenza. It aims to reduce death rates from influenza epidemics and to raise awareness and be prepared for the next pandemic.
Many people in developing countries have no access to flu vaccines and are not aware of its benefits. The WHO hopes to change this by increasing the amount of flu vaccines used.
WHO experts believe that the world is now closer to another influenza pandemic than at any time since 1968, when the last pandemic occurred (‘Hong Kong flu’). A series of six phases of pandemic alert are used to inform the world of the seriousness of the next pandemic influenza threat. The world is presently in phase 3: a new influenza virus subtype is causing disease in humans, but is not yet spreading efficiently and sustainably among humans.
The present widespread travels in all parts of the world increase the risk of spread of human influenza markedly.
Planning may help to reduce transmission of the pandemic virus strain, to decrease cases, hospitalisations and deaths, to maintain essential services and to reduce the economic and social impact of a pandemic. The level of preparedness will also influence the final death toll. However, even in one of the more conservative scenarios, it has been calculated that the world will face up to 233 million outpatient visits, 5.2 million hospital admissions and 7.4 million deaths globally, within a very short period
The European Scientific Working group on Influenza (ESWI) is a partnership organization of influenza stakeholders who aim to reduce the burden of influenza in Europe.
It is ESWI’s task to raise awareness on the impact of influenza and its control measures amongst government representatives, the European Union, opinion leaders in public health, health care workers, international organizations and the pharmaceutical industry.
In May this year, ESWI will bring together leading organizations and institutes in the field of influenza in a one-day meeting to provide them with an informal platform to discuss ways to better protect the European population against influenza.
The ESWI Flu Summit will be an action-oriented event with participants including healthcare professionals, public health officials, organizations of at-risk patients and senior citizens, and other public and private organizations that have an interest in addressing and resolving influenza issues.