Rethink needed after COVID-19

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Doctors are advocating for an Australian National Centre for Disease Control in comments welcomed by the PSA

In opening remarks to the Senate Select Committee on COVID-19, AMA president Dr Tony Bartone has reiterated the organisation’s support for an Australian National Centre for Disease Control, citing the approach to the COVID-19 pandemic as a case in point.

“The AMA for some years has urged governments to establish an Australian National Centre for Disease Control, or CDC,” Dr Bartone said.

“Australia is the only OECD country that does not have a CDC or equivalent.

“Many leading experts agree with the AMA that an Australian Centre for Disease Control would offer advantages in being prepared for and responding to infectious disease and pandemics.

“There has at times been a lack of consistent public health COVID-19 advice from governments, particularly in the early stages of the pandemic. This caused communication challenges.”

He said a CDC would “research, manage, and provide rapid risk assessments of communicable diseases, scientific briefings, surveillance reports, policy advice, and public education about potential disease threats and prevention measures”.

“It would oversee stockpile sufficiency of PPE and medicines, and manage escalation plans to ensure stockpile sufficiency during pandemic outbreaks.”

Pharmaceutical Society of Australia national president Associate Professor Chris Freeman said that “the establishment of a National Centre of Disease Control (CDC) is a measure that would be supported by PSA and as the AMA notes, Australia is the only OECD nation without a CDC”.

“There is no doubt that this pandemic has caused a rethink about how we best protect Australia against disease threats now and into the future,” he told the AJP.

“The establishment of a CDC would be a good step in that direction.”

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