Are we ready?

It’s official – tests have confirmed that three of the Rangitoto College students who had been in Mexico have swine flu.

Health Minister Tony Ryall made a Ministerial Statement to the House  today saying this is a time for concern and caution – not alarm.

That’s good advice because regardless of the problem alarm isn’t a good response and three cases doesn’t make a pandemic.

But are we ready if  the situation deteriorates?

Macdoctor thinks it’s potentially more serious than bird flu and isn’t impresssed with the lack of co-ordination at all levels of the health service .

No doubt the Ministry of Health and District Health Boards have pandemic protocols with lots of  boxes to tick. but if there’s a problem with co-ordination at this stage I’m not 100% confident that, boxes ticked or not, the theoretical preparation will translate into the right response in practice.

And how about individuals, are we ready?

If our house was quarantined how long could we survive with what we had on hand?

The absence of a corner dairy or convenient supermarket necessitates a well stocked pantry and freezer in the country.

We could easily survive on what we’ve got for more than a few days, and if our isolation continued for longer protein wouldn’t be a problem because if we got through all the meat in the freezer we could always kill a sheep or cattle beast. However, the vegetable garden is growing nothing but weeds at the moment so we’d have to rely on what’s in the fridge, freezer and fruit bowl, supplemented by a few jars of preserves and some tins for fruit and vegetables so if we had to stay in isolation for more than a couple of weeks we’d be scrabbling round for vitamins .

I suspect that makes us a lot better prepared than many people who eat out often, shop several times a week and keep little on hand for emergencies so would  have little to live on if they couldn’t leave home for even a few days.

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