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Public Health plans for full scale drill

jeff@samoanews.com
A Mid Planning Conference for a full-scale exercise that will be conducted next September to meet certain guidelines and criteria through the Public Health Emergency Preparedness Grant Program and the Hospital Preparedness Program was conducted for two days this week at the Dept. of Health Emergency Preparedness Division. [photo: Jeff Hayner]

Dept. of Health held a conference to plan for a full-scale emergency drill to be conducted in September. The drill will meet certain guidelines and criteria for the Public Health Emergency Preparedness Grant Program and the Hospital Preparedness Program. The Department of Health Emergency Preparedness Division conducted the planning session.

“We have to conduct at least one full scale exercise within five years. We have been planning this out since April of last year,” said Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) coordinator the Department of Public Health, Ben Sili. “We had our initial planning conference in November of last year as well. This month, we have our second portion of the mid planning conference”.

He went on to say that in order for them to meet the Homeland Security exercise evaluation planning guide, they have to plan out these meetings accordingly. The meeting held this week was the second in a series of three, with the final Planning Conference set for June this year. The final Planning Conference will finalize everything that will be in the full scale exercise in September, explained Sili.

“Also with this exercise, we will be exercising our plan with our partners, which are the Office of Homeland Security, the TEMCO Office, the Department of Public Safety, the Department of Port Administration, the Treasury Department, the LBJ Hospital and also with our other Federal partners off island,” he said. Those off-island partners are the Center for Disease Control (CDC), Human Health Services, and the Joint Task Force Homeland Defense, which is present on the Department of Defense side, according to Sili.

The whole purpose of the exercise, explained Sili, was to see how they are able to request SNS assets. In the event there is a Pandemic Outbreak here, they want to see how fast they can get medical material and medical counter-measures from the CDC. “We want to see how fast we can get it here and how fast we can dispense the medication”.

“Parts of the exercise will be dispensing medications. We will have players that will actually walk through points of dispensing and receiving their vaccinations and all of the pertinent information they need after they get their vaccinations,” explained Sili.



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