Pandemic planners urged to tap grass roots

first_img There is a risk that the official and activist sides could simply plan past each other, with neither side accessing what the other has to offer. That must be avoided if pandemic planning is to work when the crunch comes, said Schoch-Spana, whose paper includes a list of recommendations for officials. In central Florida, retired paramedic Michael Coston has started an “adopt a first responder’s family” campaign, which he promotes through his blog, “Avian Flu Diary.” In the 16 months he has been blogging, Coston has seen his 300 daily readers shift from being interested only in preparing their families to being willing to share community preparations. “My whole point in blogging has been to say that people need to band together to work through a pandemic,” he said in a phone interview. “We can’t say, ‘Too bad about the guy across the street; I’ve got mine.'” Connecting top and bottomThe lack of successful connection between top-down official planning and bottom-up citizen activism is one of the most frustrating features of pandemic planning, said Crawford Kilian, a professor at Capilano College in British Columbia who operates the highly regarded flu news site “H5N1.” Tapping communities’ self-knowledge, rather than dictating to them, ought to be an essential component of pandemic planning, said noted risk communication expert Peter Sandman of Princeton, N.J. (Sandman serves as deputy editor of CIDRAP News’ sister publication, CIDRAP Business Source Weekly Briefing.) UPMC report “Community Engagement: Leadership Tools for Catastrophic Health Events” The government of Berkeley, Calif., has capitalized on its community’s intense political involvement by deploying campaign techniques to distribute health information. Last May, the city of 103,000 used 250 volunteers to hang disaster-information kits on 25,000 doorknobs; next month they plan to distribute pandemic-flu planning information the same way. See also: National Academies report “Citizen Engagement in Emergency Planning for a Flu Pandemic”http://books.nap.edu/openbook.php?isbn=0309107911 “US homeland security and health emergency policies, however, do not adequately reflect the civic infrastructure’s proven contributions in catastrophes. Nor have most top officials yet realized the potential value for local and national communities—and for themselves—of preparing knowledgeable, trained networks of constituents who can mobilize in a crisis.” “The rational planning unit is the neighborhood,” he said in an interview. The ideal planning unit “wants to be geographically compact, it wants to be something with more storage capacity than individual homes, and it wants to be something that, when government has its hands full, can be autonomous.” But few top-down pandemic plans have approached neighborhood organizations or examined the potential of neighborhood gathering places such as firehouses and American Legion halls, he said. Other cyber-organizers say their readers fear being thought of as alarmists. “They go to their town council and no one wants to hear it; they speak to the chief of EMS and get tagged as a crazy person,” said Debi Brandon, a former police officer in coastal South Carolina who reaches out to law enforcement and first responders through the blog “Bird Flu Journey.” Michael Coston, “Avian Flu Diary”http://afludiary.blogspot.com “If you just define citizen preparedness as stockpiling, you are only giving people limited options,” she said. “There is a wide range of contributions that citizens can make, to prepare for, respond to, and recover from extreme events.” The health department has reached out to leaders and advocates in community-based agencies and is using the new contacts both to hold planning meetings with marginalized groups and to understand the groups’ social organization, said regional health officer Sandy Ciske. The effort has already produced some gains. When unusually high winds last December caused lengthy power outages—and subsequent deaths from burning charcoal indoors—the health department warned recently-arrived African immigrants of the danger by giving flyers to men from that community who drive taxis in downtown Seattle. Initiatives in cyberspaceFew political jurisdictions, though, have gone as far as Seattle and Berkeley in forging community contacts. In areas that have not, some existing community groups and some newly formed ones are acting on their own—face-to-face, or in the borderless meeting places of cyberspace. Apr 17, 2007 (CIDRAP News) – Governmental plans for an influenza pandemic are missing an important opportunity to improve US preparedness, according to two new reports: They are not reaching out to communities and grass-roots groups that could refine plan details and increase public support. “[Official plans] look to me like a 60-foot rope hanging from the top of a 100-foot cliff,” he said in an e-mail interview. “The bureaucrats have done their planning without really thinking about what the rest of us are supposed to do to make the plan succeed. . . . [But] in fairness, the officials probably aren’t finding many grassroots/ad hoc groups to link up with.” The city government has reached out to neighborhood disaster teams, hoping to add pandemic planning to their long-standing training in earthquake and wildfire response, and is beginning to talk to religious organizations and neighborhood-watch groups, said Assistant City Manager Arrietta Chakos, who participated in the Working Group on Community Engagement in Health Emergency Planning, the panel that produced the UPMC report. “The civic infrastructure—comprised of the public’s collective wisdom and capability to solve problems; voluntary associations (both virtual and face-to-face) that arise from shared interests or a public good; and social service organizations that look out for the well-being of various groups—is essential to managing a mass health emergency,” the report says. The first report, “Community Engagement: Leadership Tool for Catastrophic Health Events,” was published Apr 4 by the Center for Biosecurity at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC). The report, which sums up the findings of a 27-member panel convened by the center during 2006, asserts that official planning incorrectly assumes the public will panic and create a “secondary disaster.” Debi Brandon, “Bird Flu Journey”http://birdflujourney.typepad.com/ The report quotes Jason Corburn, assistant professor in the urban planning program at Columbia University, New York City: “Engaging community members and their knowledge about how they move through the world, and what they know about their disease management and exposure risks in their community, can contribute to better science and policy.” Meanwhile, ad hoc communities and preparedness alliances are forming—in the real world and online—with minimal input from government planners. And, confirming the reports’ concerns, some members of those communities say they have networks and resources to offer to official efforts, but are frustrated by their inability to make themselves heard. The second report, “Citizen Engagement in Emergency Planning for a Flu Pandemic,” was published Apr 13 by the National Academies Press and sums up the findings of an Institute of Medicine workshop held Oct 23, 2006. It says that seeking community input about policy decisions and setting up channels through which residents can talk back to government has been critical to the success of recent environmental-action and public-health campaigns and should be folded into pandemic planning as well. FluWikihttp://www.fluwikie.com/ “We would like health officials and mayors and governors to reach out to the community . . . and to provide political support and visibility,” she said. “But community-based organizations shouldn’t wait to be invited to the table. They should be asking for advice on how they can maintain their operations during an acute emergency, so that their members can be taken care of—but they should also be offering themselves as a community asset.” The central cyber-site for pandemic planning is the FluWiki, a sprawling collection of thousands of collectively assembled posts that has garnered 1.5 million visits in its 22 months. In FluWiki’s earliest days, participants anonymously shared advice about preparing their own households, said Dr. Greg Dworkin, a pediatric pulmonologist in Danbury, Conn., who is one of the site’s volunteer editors under the name “DemfromCt.” More than stockpilingIn an interview, lead author Monica Schoch-Spana, PhD, a senior associate at the UPMC center and chair of the panel, said that official planning addresses civic divisions—states, counties, cities, and towns—and then makes a long leap to individuals and households. In that leap, she said, the plans ignore the many relationships that knit together civil society and that could be used to enhance preparations before a crisis and disseminate information and organize action during one. “It really helps when government people go into the community and use the meetings and gatherings that already exist, rather than convening special city government town halls to communicate information,” she said. “The more we meet with our neighbors in settings and forums that they convene, the more the message gets communicated that we want to work with groups that are functioning in effective and healthy ways.” Seattle and Berkeley reach outA few jurisdictions around the United States have reached out on their own to local communities and grass-roots networks. The Seattle–King County Health Department—an agency that is widely considered a national leader in pandemic planning—created a Vulnerable Populations Action Team after seeing the extraordinary difficulties that Hurricane Katrina brought to the Gulf Coast’s elderly, disabled, impoverished, and undocumented residents. Many FluWiki members remain cautious about revealing their real-world identities, Dworkin said, because they fear it may put their personal preparations at risk. “They’ve all had the experience of trying to be a bit of an evangelist about stockpiling at least 2 weeks of food and water, and having a family member say, ‘Great, now I know whose house to go to,'” he said. But in recent months, he said in a phone interview, participants have begun reaching out to each other through pages dedicated to US states and foreign countries and have begun sharing strategies for area preparation and for communicating with public health agencies and local governments. At the same time, a few planning agencies have begun using the site as a resource; the New York State Department of Health, he said, posted its draft guidance for using scarce ventilators during a pandemic to the FluWiki before the document’s public release. Crawford Kilian, “H5N1″http://crofsblogs.typepad.com/h5n1/last_img read more

Terry hails Chelsea character

first_img It leaves Jose Mourinho’s men with a six-point lead and with a game in-hand on second-placed Manchester City. “The importance of the win showed on the players’ faces and that of the manager afterwards,” Terry said. “When you set the standard so high as we have done from the word go, then start dropping points at home and go out of the Champions League, once again it comes back down to character. “It’s immense in the dressing room, there is an awful lot of experience in there. It will serve the younger lads well, too. “It was an important three points going into the international break. For everyone to dwell over that for two weeks was massive.” Mourinho reflected on a commanding advantage which he hopes will help Chelsea win a first Premier League title since 2010. “It’s the best position since the beginning of the season,” Mourinho, who is chasing a third Premier League title, told Chelsea TV. “The maximum points (advantage) we had was eight points and when we had eight points we were speaking about 20 matches to go. Chelsea captain John Terry praised the character of his Premier League-title chasing team to bounce back from conceding a two-goal lead to beat Hull and enter the international break on a high. “In this moment we have six points (advantage) with one match in hand with 24 possible points for our opponents. “We know our opponents are there, we know football is very unpredictable, we know that what is happening to us for the last two or three months we cannot control. “But we also know that we are strong, we are together and we are going to fight to get the points we need to be champions.” Mourinho was referring to the incidents, such as in the draw with Southampton, which he believes denied his side more points than they earned. The win at the KC Stadium was Chelsea’s third in seven games. The Blues had followed the Capital One Cup win over Tottenham at Wembley with victory over West Ham, but had been frustrated since. Now Terry hopes his Chelsea team-mates can return from the international hiatus reinvigorated and ready to carry the momentum from the Hull win by claiming a first home win since February 11 against Everton. “The title race is exciting,” the former England defender added. “There is still an awful long way to go. We have Stoke at home and QPR away next, which is always a tough one for us. “Hopefully everyone will come back fit after the break and go again. “But it’s important we get back to winning at the Bridge because it’s something we haven’t done for a few weeks.” Remy was being readied to play alongside Costa at Hull, but had to instead replace the striker, who picked up a hamstring injury. It was the France striker’s fourth goal of a season which has seen him given limited opportunities, mainly off the substitutes’ bench. He told chelseafc.com: “It is true it is frustrating sitting on the bench but the manager knows all the team and he has very good quality in the squad. “I know there are only 11 players on the pitch and as soon the manager needs me I am here. “It’s one of my best moments at Chelsea. I hope I will have more moments like that before the end of the season.” Draws against Paris St Germain – a result which ended the Blues’ Champions League participation – and Southampton may have knocked confidence. And when Hull came back from going 2-0 down after nine minutes to draw level at 2-2, Chelsea had to dig deep to win 3-2 through Loic Remy’s strike. Press Associationlast_img read more

Test pitches in India are boring and Favour Batsmen: Michael Vaughan

first_imgNew Delhi: Former England skipper Michael Vaughan has slammed the cricket pitches in India, saying the tracks are “boring” and are more in favour of the batsmen. “Test match cricket pitches in India are boring…The first 3/4 days the contest is far too in favour of the bat…needs more action for the bowler…My thought of the day …,” Vaughan tweeted on Friday.His comments came during the ongoing second Test between India and South Africa being played at the Maharashtra Cricket Association (MCA) Stadium in Pune where the Indian batters have dominated the proceedings. Skipper Virat Kohli and Mayank Agarwal scored brilliant hundreds and have taken the hosts to a commanding position.Even in the first Test, the Indian batsmen had a great time at the ACA-VDCA Stadium in Visakhapatnam. While Mayank scored a double hundred, Rohit Sharma — in his debut match as an opener in red-ball cricket — scored hundreds in both the innings in the game which India won by 203 runs. IANSAlso Read: Jasprit Bumrah shares motivational post on social mediaAlso Watch:All Assam Bengali Youth Students’ Federation in Biswanath demands error-free NRClast_img read more

Four teams win in EBFA Under-11 League

first_imgVURLON Mills Academy, Kuru Kururu Warriors, Diamond United and defending champions Timehri Panthers all recorded wins when the 4th edition of the East Bank Football Association (EBFA) Under-11 League, sponsored by USA-based Guyanese Ralph Green continued on Saturday last at the GFF’s National Training Centre, Providence, East Bank Demerara.Vurlon Mills Academy recorded their second 2-0 victory which ensured that they kept their lead at the top of the points table on goal difference ahead of the Linden Soesdyke Highway-based Kuru Kururu Warriors.Blake Edwards and Malcolm Hendricks were the players who scored for Mills Academy. The young Warriors recorded another positive result which meant they have matched their winning record of two wins from 10 matches in last year’s tournament and seem determined to make it to the top this year.Led by a Levi Sampson double (5th, 20th), they defeated Friendship All Stars 3-1. Jahson Maddison netted the other in the 10th minute, his second of the tournament. Friendship pulled one back through Jermaine Haynes’ 13th minute strike.The tournament’s leading goalscorer Rick Ramotar led Diamond United to their first win, playing in his third tournament at this level. He scored this year’s first goal – his team’s lone goal – in their draw against Samatta Point/Kaneville. Ramotar netted in the 7th and 20th minutes and that was all his side needed to take full points from Eagles FC of Stewartville.Defending champions Timehri Panthers, after going down to Vurlon Mills Academy in their opening match one week ago, rebounded in grand style when they defeated Fruta Conquerors 2-0, with goals either side of play thanks to goals off the boot of Jadon Tasher (14th) from the penalty spot and Shaquan Caleb in the 20th minute.Saturday’s other match ended 0-0 between Riddim Squad and Agricola Red Triangle. Matches will continue this Saturday at the same venue.Following is the latest points Table:Team P W L D GF GA GD PointsVurlon Mills Academy 2 2 0 0 4 0 +4 6Kuru Kururu Warriors 2 2 0 0 5 2 +3 6Diamond United 2 1 0 1 3 1 +2 4Timehri Panthers 2 1 1 0 2 2 0 3Agricola Red Triangle 2 0 0 2 0 0 0 2Riddim Squad 2 0 0 2 1 1 0 2Swan FC 1 0 0 1 0 0 0 1Samatta Point/Kaneville 2 0 1 1 1 3 0 1Friendship All Stars 2 0 1 1 2 4 -2 1Grove Hi Tech 1 0 1 0 1 2 -1 0Fruta Conquerors 1 0 1 0 0 2 -2 0Eagles FC (Stewartville) 1 0 1 0 0 2 -2 0last_img read more

Yanks star Judge ailing, uncertain for start of Bosox series

first_img First Published: 13th August, 2020 12:21 IST LIVE TV Associated Press Television News  Yankees star Aaron Judge was out of the lineup Wednesday night because of tightness in his lower body and it was uncertain whether the oft-injured slugger would return for the start of a weekend series against Boston.“I hope so but that’s, in a lot of ways, a long way from now, so let’s just kind of get through today,” manager Aaron Boone said before New York hosted Atlanta.“Hopefully this is something we’re out ahead of and will only be a couple of days,” he said.Judge began the day leading the majors with nine home runs and tied at the top with 20 RBIs for the AL East leaders.Clint Frazier, promoted this week from the team’s alternate training site when Giancarlo Stanton was put on the injured list with a strained hamstring, started in right field in place of Judge. The Yankees are off Thursday.Judge made an unusual exit during Tuesday night’s 9-6 win over Atlanta. He homered in the fifth inning and was pulled for pinch hitter Mike Tauchman in the sixth with the Yankees ahead 8-3. Judge briefly remained in the dugout, watching Tauchman hit from the top rail, then returned to the clubhouse.Boone said Wednesday that Judge felt some “wear and tear” during last weekend’s series on the artificial turf at Tampa Bay.“Essentially what’s going on with Aaron is I made a quick decision in the game just based on how I felt he was moving around,” Boone said.“He’s in getting treatment now. He wanted to play,” he said. “He’s just dealing with some lower body tightness that we’re hoping to get out ahead of and hopefully prevent an injury moving forward.”The 28-year-old All-Star missed some time during July’s training camp because of a stiff neck.Judge hit 52 home runs in 2017 and was the AL Rookie of the Year. He hit 27 homers in each of the last two seasons, both of them interrupted by injuries — he broke his right wrist on a hit by pitch in 2018 and went on the injured list for two months last year with a left oblique strain.Judge was diagnosed with a broken rib in March. Boone said last weekend’s series took its toll on the 6-foot-7 outfielder.“It’s kind of all over the lower body, just where he’s kind of dealing with some rigors. So, you know, the hips down into the hamstring and calves,” Boone said. “I think it’s a result of probably the four-game pounding in three days down in Tampa.”Boone said Judge looked fine going into Tuesday night’s game at Yankee Stadium, but later “just seeing him move around a little bit cautiously, I felt like it was best to get him out of there.”“It kind of goes back to the 60-game season and you’ve heard me talk a lot about the importance of building these guys up and making sure that we take care of them in some degree based on a three-week summer training right into the grind,” he said. Written By Last Updated: 13th August, 2020 12:21 IST Yanks Star Judge Ailing, Uncertain For Start Of Bosox Series  Yankees star Aaron Judge was out of the lineup Wednesday night because of tightness in his lower body and it was uncertain whether the oft-injured slugger would return for the start of a weekend series against Boston.center_img WATCH US LIVE COMMENT SUBSCRIBE TO US FOLLOW USlast_img read more

Police to question son on missing businessman

first_imgCharred remains found in templeAs investigations continue into the discovery of charred remains suspected to be those of 56-year-old businessman Saeed ‘Saho’ Hamid who went missing in April, the Police are expected to question the son of the now dead man.The charred remains were discovered behind a Hindu temple at Rosignol, West Coast Berbice on Wednesday last.The dead man’ son, Asif Hamid, is on remand after he was charged for the murder of a cattle farmer whose remains were found buried in his back yard in July 2015.Based on reports received, Hamid’s father had left home on April 19 to conduct business at Rosignol, but was never seen again.However, following discovery of the charred remains on June 20, the Police have taken several persons into custody, including Satrohan Madray and Antonio Balrup, both of whom had been accused of murder but were subsequently freed.The two men nevertheless reportedly admitted to bludgeoning the man to death and burning his body to get rid of the evidence.It is believed that the man was killed to prevent him from testifying against his son.The charred remains have been sent for DNA testing to determine whether they belong to the Corentyne businessman.last_img read more