The pandemic (H1N1) 2009 was discovered in Mexico in late March; the virus has spread rapidly from human to human. As of June 11, 2009, more than 75 countries worldwide reported flu outbreak events and more than 20,000 confirmed cases were found. Meanwhile, WHO raised the flu pandemic phase to 6 and announced the outbreak of the 2009 flu pandemic. Due to the pandemic(H1N1) worldwide, Taipei City Government started the “Strategic flu pandemic preparedness plan” in order to understand problems derived from the crisis management strategy and the epidemic prevention system of the influenza A(H1N1) in Taipei City. The current study discussed from the aspects of information, epidemic prevention strategy, human resource and crisis guidance, so that suggestions for improving the current crisis management of influenza A(H1N1) in Taipei City can be provided.
The methods used in this study included literature review and in-depth interviews. Through literature review, the framework of the study was established; through in-depth interviews, problems and solutions on facing influenza A(H1N1) pandemic in Taipei City were discussed. To conclude, suggestions were provided.
The study found that from the aspect of information: the epidemic prevention information system and the disaster prevention and response system in Taipei City were awaiting an integration procedure. From the aspect of epidemic prevention strategy: influenza A(H1N1) crisis management and disaster prevention organization were focused on typhoon events; usually, there was a pack of lateral communication strategy. In a disaster event, the lateral communication channel based on EOC and the influenza A(H1N1) prevention strategy SOP were waiting to be established. From the aspect of human resources: there was a lack of public assistance on the epidemic prevention human resource; the epidemiologists were unstable, and the manpower support across the departments was difficult. General training on epidemic prevention was insufficient; thus, it was difficult to source temporary support which was required in a disaster event. The disaster prevention exercises were focused on typhoon and flood events, which were not suitable for pandemic disaster events. Also, the authoritative human resource for the related tasks was insufficient, which led to a hydra-headed situation on commands and directions. From the aspect of crisis guidance: a disaster prevention system was based on a hierarchy framework, but the crisis guidance for pandemic disasters should be different from the one for typhoon disasters. The study results and findings provide the following suggestions: (1) establish a Taipei City infectious diseases prevention website and establish an epidemic prevention and strategy analysis system, using information technology to support experience deficiency of workers; (2) set up a response plan and the related SOP, and routinely revise and review them after a disaster event; (3) reorganize the epidemiologists, include public health workers in the community epidemic prevention team, combine the community organizations and establish community epidemic prevention teams; (4) reposition the roles of the authoritative organization for pandemic disasters. The above suggestions can be references for future pandemic disaster crisis and response.