Re-emergence in 2003 of human cases of avian H5N1 and the resultant spread of the disease highlighted the need to improve the capacity of countries to detect and contain novel viruses. To assess development in this capacity, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) produced a tool for assessing a country's capability in 12 critical areas related to pandemic preparedness, including monitoring and identifying novel influenza viruses.
Capabilities the CDC tool assesses range from how well a country has planned and is prepared for an outbreak to how prepared a country is to respond when a pandemic occurs. Included in this assessment tool are questions to determine whether a country has a detailed preparedness plan and the laboratory capacity to identify various strains of influenza quickly and accurately.
The tool was used first in 2008 when 40 countries in collaboration with CDC calculated baseline scores and used a second time in 2010 by 36 of the original 40 countries to determine whether they had improved their preparedness. Using basic mathematical comparison and statistical analyses, we compared data at the aggregate capability level as well as at the indicator and country levels. Additionally, we examined the comments of respondents to the assessment questionnaire for reasons (positive and negative) that would explain changes in scores from 2008 to 2010.
Analysis of results of two assessments in 36 countries shows statistically significant improvement in all 12 capabilities on an aggregate level and 47 of 50 indicators.