Bird Flu Pandemic Planning for Faith Based and Non-Profit Organizations
By TJ Smith
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 â€˜worst-case scenarioâ€?contingency plan in place before you actually need it.
Some of the questions you may need to start asking are: