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Annual Report - Performance Information
Outcome Performance ReportAchievements & ChallengesStrategic DirectionsPerformance InformationResources


Performance Information for Administered Items

Administered Funding – Health Protection, Surveillance and Emergency Response Programs:
  • Health Emergency Planning and Response; and
  • Surveillance.
Target: Quality: Development and support of mechanisms to promote evidence-based policy and programs for disease prevention.
Result: Target met.

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:

  • polio to assist in the detection of potential wild or vaccine-associated cases;
  • Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD) to provide advice on prevention of transmission;
  • malaria and arboviruses to assist in the detection, management and control of real or potential outbreaks of arboviral disease;
  • antibiotic utilisation and antimicrobial resistance; and
  • environmental health issues and environmental standards to protect human health.
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:

  • managing the National Medical Stockpile with new acquisitions of personal equipment and ventilators;
  • coordinating the immediate national and departmental response to health emergencies through the National Incident Room;
  • enhancing laboratory capability and capacity for responding to major disease outbreaks and other biological threats by purchasing stockpiles of diagnostic test kits and laboratory equipment;
  • supporting and strengthening critical health infrastructure for counterterrorism, for example by providing a Risk Statement to laboratory stakeholders on the terrorist threat to Australian laboratories holding human risk pathogens and by supporting the Health Infrastructure Assurance Advisory Group's work to safeguard the supply chain for key health products;
  • funding pandemic influenza vaccine development by CSL Ltd;
  • providing significant financial assistance, in response to the identification of disease-carrying mosquitoes in the Northern Territory which successfully eliminated, in 2005-06, an exotic incursion in Tennant Creek, and in Queensland for an ongoing Torres Strait program; and
  • ensuring supply of antivenom to meet the need to treat 600-700 cases per year in Australia.
Target: Quality: Incidence of communicable disease outbreaks are monitored to ensure outbreaks are actioned and contained.
Result: Target met.

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:

  • decisions about the National Medicines Stockpile have been based on research into treatments and public health interventions for influenza;
  • laboratory capacity and security improvement projects are a response to trends in global disease and terrorist trends;
  • surveillance of Creutzfeld-Jakob Disease is based on up-to-date understanding of infectiousness of disease agents; and
  • initiatives through the enHealth Council to document evidence for health effects of environmental hazards have been based on literature reviews.
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.

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Performance Information for Departmental Outputs

Output Group 1. Policy Advice, including:
  • Health Emergency Planning and Response; and
  • Surveillance.
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.
Result: Target met.

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.

Output Group 2. Program Management, including:
  • financial management and reporting;
  • development and management of grants and contracts; and
  • administration and revision of legislation as required.
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.
Result: Target met.

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.

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Produced by the Portfolio Strategies Division, Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing.
URL: http://www.health.gov.au/internet/annrpt/publishing.nsf/Content/performance-information-0506-12
If you would like to know more or give us your comments contact: annrep@health.gov.au