Canada is committed to working with its North American partners to strengthen preparedness for a highly contagious influenza virus or other pandemic either originating in or spread to our continent.
In keeping with this commitment, experts from Canada, the United States and Mexico developed the North American Plan for Animal and Pandemic Influenza which was presented to leaders at the North American Leaders Summit in Washington, D.C., on April 2, 2012.
Building on the 2007 North American Plan for Avian and Pandemic Influenza and incorporating the lessons learned from the North American response to the 2009 H1N1 pandemic, the NAPAPI outlines how Canada, the United States and Mexico intend to strengthen their emergency response capacities and collaboration in order to assist each other and ensure a faster and more coordinated response to future outbreaks of animal influenza or an influenza pandemic.
More specifically, the NAPAPI provides a comprehensive cross-sectoral regional health security framework to enhance trilateral collaboration in order to:
- Detect, monitor, and control influenza outbreaks and attempt to limit transmission between animals and humans as well as human to human transmission;
- Facilitate communication among relevant authorities of the three countries in order to react and cooperate expediently in the case of an outbreak or a pandemic;
- Prevent or slow the entry of a novel strain of human influenza into North America and the propagation of the virus whether it emerges within or outside North America;
- Minimize illness and deaths; and
- Sustain infrastructure and mitigate social and economic impact.
The Plan addresses both animal and public health issues including early notification and surveillance, joint outbreak investigation, epidemiology, laboratory practices, medical countermeasures, personnel sharing, and public health measures. It also addresses border and transportation issues, including containment measures for air and maritime travel along with land border crossings.
The NAPAPI complements national emergency management plans in each of the three countries and builds upon the core principles of the International Partnership on Avian and Pandemic Influenza, the standards and guidelines of the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) and of the World Health Organization (WHO) – including the International Health Regulations (2005), as well as the rules and provisions of the World Trade Organization (WTO) agreement – and of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
A North American Senior Coordinating Body (SCB), made up of members of the health, agriculture, security and foreign affairs sectors of all three countries, has been established to facilitate high level discussions on policy, planning and response activities for pandemic influenza. A trilateral Health Security Working Group (HSWG) under the direction of the SCB will develop and execute implementation actions related to the NAPAPI.