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Bird Flu Pandemic Planning for Faith Based and Non-Profit Organizations
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Sidenote: Hope you're finding this useful? I have always been curious about this matter. And when I found very little quality information about it, I decided to share a part of what I've learned about it - which is why this article came to be written. Read on. How would a bird flu pandemic affect your faith-based or non-profit organization? Currently avian influenza has been mainly in Asia but it is spreading rapidly to other countries. Worldwide about 165 people have become ill (mainly from close contact with infected poultry) and about 88 have died. At this time bird flu is not passed from human to human but scientists fear it will mutate into a form or mix with normal influenza viruses that will allow it to pass easily from person to person. When that happens the chance of a world pandemic will greatly increase with catastrophic results. It may not happen in the near future but health experts say it will happen and it is only a matter of time.
A bird flu pandemic lasting a year could cost the global economy $800 billion dollars, leave millions around the world ill and kill anywhere from 5 million to 500 million people world wide. It would have a huge impact on your organization, your members and the community you serve.
It is estimated that 30-60% of the work force would be out sick. People could be housebound under quarantines for months at a time. Public gatherings such as worship services would be reduced or eliminated all together to help prevent the spread of bird flu. How would you continue to serve your members? As with any organization, you need to be aware of the risks and have a 'worst-case scenario" contingency plan in place before you actually need it.
Some of the questions you may need to start asking are:
How would you continue to offer services without contributing to the spread of bird flu? Worship services may need to be reduced or eliminated for several months. Weekly group meetings including bible studies, boy scouts, etc. would also need to be eliminated.
How would you handle a loss of contributions when members are at home sick and not working? How long could your organization last without income?
How would you continue to communicate with your members? What type of communication network between members and staff could you set up?
How would you handle your community outreach programs, such as meals on wheels and other programs where you are dealing with many people? Members of the community, who are elderly, vision impaired, wheelchair bound and those already homebound, would need someone to continue checking on them and help them if they become ill. Members of society who are slipping through the cracks now may be the hardest hit. The need for services could become overwhelming.
Members will be undergoing tremendous stress in relation to illness, loss of work and income, family members illness, being housebound ("cabin fever"), and death. The services you can offer may be stretched to the limit.
There could be food and water shortages, utility outages and social unrest. Members who were not prepared before hand would need help with their daily needs.
There would be an increase in people dying. How would you handle the additional services? How would you administer to those dying at home?
What about key employees? Who can fill in if they are out sick? Can you call upon additional volunteers? How would a bird flu pandemic impact your overseas mission work?
What other community services are you offering that may be affected? Daycare centers along with schools would probably be closed. You may need to open your doors to shelter the sick or take care of the homeless. You may need to help your community with social services that are no longer available.
During a pandemic, everyone's faith, resilience and core beliefs will be put to the test. Your best defense is to stay informed and updated, keep your members informed about the bird flu and by starting to plan now for a possible bird flu pandemic, you will be in a better position to continue to offer your members the services they require and the answers they need.
About the author:
To stay up to date on avian influenza, bird flu and the h5n1 virus visit The Bird Flu Index http://www.birdfluindex.com Find links to bird flu websites, official medical and government sites and full information about how the bird flu could turn into a global influenza pandemic. Search through the article archive for the latest bird flu articles. For the latest bird flu news visit The Pandemic Zone http://pandemiczone.blogspot.com