The Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF) Public Health Network, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health of Lao PDR, organised a Strategy Development Workshop on Pandemic Preparedness and Response for Food Supply Security in Vientiane, Lao PDR on 22 and 23 October 2012.
A total number of 22 participants attended the workshop, representing a wide variety of sectors, including the food industry, national governments, regional, national and international organisations, the military and civil society organisations. They identified shortcomings in the pandemic preparedness plans and assessed the level of preparedness in view of possible futures by using the ASEF-ASAP scenarios. Based on this exercise, participants developed several strategic options on, for example, communicating risks and sharing resources.
In terms of risk communications, some options included: involving academia, experts, and politicians in the risk assessment by forming a technical working group; reaching consensus on the outcome of risk assessment among those involved; and establishing strategies to communicate uncertainty. With regard to sharing resources, proposals covered: publicizing the value of sharing during the peaceful time and tailoring the compensation packages considering cases of over-report and under-report, among many others.
The full report will be available early 2013. For more information visit www.asef.org
This workshop was part of a series of activities under the ASEF-ASAP (Accurate Scenarios Active Preparedness) scenarios project. With a unique scenario-based approach, ASEF engages multiple stakeholders to strengthen the pandemic preparedness plans and improve the current strategies.
Throughout 2011 and 2012, ASEF engaged multiple stakeholders in developing sectoral as well as multi-sectoral strategies for pandemic preparedness and response. At the workshops that ASEF previously organised, high-level professionals involved in human security (health, food, water, and environment) and the passenger air transport sector shared their current preparedness plans, identified gaps and developed strategic options. In 2014, ASEF will move forward to the theme of risk communications, which was highly recommended by participants in all three workshops to pursue robust plans. ASEF welcomes ideas and suggestions from key players in the fields.
(This article was published in the ‘Towards A Safer World’ newsletter, December 2012 edition)