The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals, Office of Public Health’s Emergency Preparedness and Response Unit will host a three-day training program April 12-14 to help other states to become more prepared to distribute medications and medical supplies in the event of a health threat.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention asked Louisiana to conduct training because the state’s health and emergency response workers demonstrated preparedness to respond to a health threat and distribute the Strategic National Stockpile during a drill last year.

The Strategic National Stockpile is a supply of medications and medical provisions held by the CDC that can be shipped to the states in the event of a massive medical crisis. Each state must have plans to receive and distribute medicine and medical supplies from the Strategic National Stockpile to their local communities as quickly as possible.

Louisiana was one of only three states to receive the CDC’s highest rating, “green,” for emergency readiness after demonstrating Louisiana’s ability to receive, distribute and dispense the medications contained within the Strategic National Stockpile during a drill in March 2004.

“It is an honor to be asked by the CDC to develop this training,” said Dr. Jimmy Guidry, State Health Officer. “Working together toward a common goal of enhancing public health preparedness will continue to fortify our relationships with neighboring states and our response efforts to natural or man-made threats.”

In January of 2005, CDC officials requested that LDH/OPH develop and host a training session to share their expertise with neighboring states. This training is the first of its kind. It will cover the nine components necessary to activate the Strategic National Stockpile. This includes: requesting the Strategic National Stockpile from the CDC, health emergency coordination, inventory control, transportation, communications, security, dispensing and treatment, repackaging and public information.

The training will take place Tuesday and Wednesday and will conclude on Thursday. Participants will include public health preparedness officials from New Mexico, Oklahoma and Arkansas. Also participating are partners from the National Guard, State Police and the University of Louisiana-Monroe, Pharmacy School.