Canadian Health Emergency Plans Found Wanting

A critical audit of Canada’s public health agency prompted a memo warning the country’s health minister that problems needed to be fixed before the news went public, the Vancouver Sun reports. The memo was obtained through the Access to Information Act by Postmedia News.

But when asked about the audit, the minister, Leona Aglukkaq, told the Canadian House of Commons that she had begun work to "address" some of its recommendations and played down the seriousness of the report. "Let me make it very clear that the agency is ready and able to respond to the next emergency just as we did for H1N1," the Sun quotes her as saying.

The auditors revealed that the agency has not conducted a large-scale public health/infectious disease exercise and has problems with its $300-million national emergency stockpile. The equipment, such as beds, blankets and pharmaceuticals has not been adequately inventoried, there is not “reliable useful life information” for most supplies and the maintenance schedule for equipment is inadequate, the audit says.

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