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Australia needs a national centre for disease control

Paul M Kelly, Kamalini Lokuge, Hassan Vally and Alexander S Cameron
Med J Aust 2010; 193 (10): 623-624.
Published online: 15 November 2010

To the Editor: Givney’s recent letter restated the case for a national centre for disease control.1 His arguments for national planning, and particularly for a non-politicised approach to coordination and modification of responses to public health threats based on evidence, will be welcomed by many. A clear example of the validity of his case is provided by the recent pandemic (H1N1) 2009 influenza. In hindsight, despite certain risk groups being severely affected,2 the 2009 influenza season was generally mild.3,4 However, the public health response, based on the agreed pre-pandemic plans, was personnel-intensive and long-lasting.5 Crucially, there was a need for a well trained, flexible epidemiological workforce to rapidly analyse data to inform any response. Here, we highlight the contributions of Master of Applied Epidemiology (MAE) staff and students to this component of the response.

  • Paul M Kelly
  • Kamalini Lokuge
  • Hassan Vally
  • Alexander S Cameron

  • Master of Applied Epidemiology Program, National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health, Australian National University, Canberra, ACT.

Correspondence: paul.kelly@anu.edu.au

Acknowledgements: 

The MAE has been funded by the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing under the now discontinued Population Health Education and Research Program. Paul Kelly has received a National Health and Medical Research Council Development Award. We acknowledge the contributions of MAE students and their field supervisors to the work described in this letter.

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