|Target:||Quality: Development and support of mechanisms to promote evidence-based policy and programs for disease prevention.|
In 2005-06, the Department supported the National Health and Medical Research Council program for urgent research to provide information needed for influenza pandemic planning. The Department also continued its use of expert advisory committees to assess current scientific evidence for sound policy development. This included the National Influenza Pandemic Advisory Committee. There are several other disease specific committees advising the Department, for example, in 2005-06 the Department used expert technical advice on:
|Target:||Quality: Timely recognition and development of appropriate responses to emerging threats to human health.|
|Result:||Target met.||The Department is alert to possible fresh outbreaks of infectious diseases
and terrorist threats to health through its lead role in national surveillance
and diagnostic networks. Timely national health emergency preparation
and response initiatives for 2005-06 included:
|Target:||Quality: Incidence of communicable disease outbreaks are monitored to ensure outbreaks are actioned and contained.|
During 2005-06, all outbreaks were actioned and contained by states and territories using the national system managed by the Department. The Department continued the daily collection of data on the incidence of communicable diseases in Australia from states and territories into the Department's National Notifiable Disease Surveillance System. The Department reported these data fortnightly to the Communicable Diseases Network of Australia (CDNA). The CDNA coordinated the national response to a multi-jurisdictional outbreak of measles from April to June 2006, in which more than 80 cases of measles were detected and in excess of 500 contacts traced nationally.
Using international surveillance information, the Department supported regional outbreak containment through placement of, and liaison with, World Health Organization epidemiologists in Indonesia and Vietnam.
Other data gathering involved the cases of acute flaccid paralysis within Australia reported by the Polio Expert Committee to the Department and to the World Health Organization as part of the global polio eradication initiative, and the suspected cases of CJD reported to the Department by the National Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD) Registry.
|Target:||Quality: Initiatives provide for enhanced surveillance of foodborne illness, and improve food safety.|
|Result:||Target met.||The departmental initiative OzFoodNet continued its role in enhanced surveillance as a national network of epidemiologists who undertake surveillance, prevention and control of foodborne illness. The network enables multi-jurisdictional investigation not otherwise possible. During 2005-06, OzFoodNet coordinated at least 5 national outbreak investigations into potentially contaminated food. Initiatives undertaken to improve food safety included production and distribution of tools such as checklists to help delivered meals organisations, school canteens, and sectors of the seafood industry meet the national Food Safety Standards. The Department also financially supported the Food Safety Information Council and the Australian Food Safety Centre of Excellence.|
|Target:||Quality: Government programs to prevent and detect disease are implemented in accordance with a sound evidence base and with responsiveness to new and emerging trends.|
|Result:||Target met.||The action taken by the Department in response to emerging disease trends
has been based on up-to-date research. For example:
|Target:||Quality: Social marketing initiatives improve knowledge, attitude and behaviours in relation to communicable diseases and possible health emergencies through targeted information campaigns.|
|Result:||Target met.||The Department prepared and tested a comprehensive communications strategy for informing and advising the general public, businesses and key health stakeholders during an influenza pandemic which can be implemented in the event of a pandemic.|
|Target:||Quality: Ministers' satisfaction with the quality, relevance and timeliness of our advice for Australian Government decision making.|
|Result:||Target met.||Ministers were satisfied with the quality, relevance and timeliness of advice provided for Australian Government decision making.|
|Target:||Quality: Production of timely evidence-based policy research.|
The Department commissioned research on a wide range of topics that include the cost of foodborne illness in Australia, levels of antibiotic resistance, and prevalence of Salmonella and Campylobacter in the food supply. The Department also commissioned timely research to better define communicable disease vulnerabilities for Australia prior to disease outbreaks and to advance understanding of influenza prevention and treatments.
|Target:||Quality: Administered budget predictions are met and actual expenses vary less than 0.5% from budgeted expenses.|
|Result:||Target not met.||The variation between budget predictions and actual expenditure was greater than 0.5%. With the formation of the Office of Health Protection in the second half of the year, the Department experienced delays in filling vacant positions and delays in contract tendering processes, which resulted in payments not being made.|
|Target:||Quality: Opportunity for stakeholders to participate in program development.|
The Department held a number of industry forums during 2005-06 that provided stakeholders with information about Australian Government activities in pandemic planning and business continuity. Expert professionals participated in the work of advisory groups such as the National Influenza Pandemic Action Committee and its working groups.
Produced by the Portfolio Strategies Division, Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing.
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