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Despite children’s unique vulnerability, clinical guidance and resources are lacking around the use of radiation medical countermeasures (MCMs) available commercially and in the Strategic National Stockpile to support immediate dispensing to pediatric populations. To better understand the current capabilities and shortfalls, a literature review and gap analysis were performed.
A comprehensive review of the medical literature, Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved labeling, FDA summary reviews, medical references, and educational resources related to pediatric radiation MCMs was performed from May 2016 to February 2017.
Fifteen gaps related to the use of radiation MCMs in children were identified. The need to address these gaps was prioritized based upon the potential to decrease morbidity and mortality, improve clinical management, strengthen caregiver education, and increase the relevant evidence base.
Key gaps exist in information to support the safe and successful use of MCMs in children during radiation emergencies; failure to address these gaps could have negative consequences for families and communities. There is a clear need for pediatric-specific guidance to ensure clinicians can appropriately identify, triage, and treat children who have been exposed to radiation, and for resources to ensure accurate communication about the safety and utility of radiation MCMs for children. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2019;13:639-646)
Preparing and responding to the needs of children during public health emergencies continues to be challenging. The purpose of this study was to assess the usefulness of a tabletop exercise in initiating pediatric preparedness strategies and assessing the impact of the exercise on participants’ understanding of and confidence in their roles during pediatric public health emergencies.
A tabletop exercise was developed to simulate a public health emergency scenario involving smallpox in a child, with subsequent spread to multiple states. During the exercise, participants discussed and developed communication, collaboration, and medical countermeasure strategies to enhance pediatric public health preparedness. Exercise evaluation was designed to assess participants’ knowledge gained and level of confidence surrounding pediatric public health emergencies.
In total, 22 participants identified over 100 communication and collaboration strategies to promote pediatric public health preparedness during the exercise and found that the most beneficial aspect during the exercise was the partnership between pediatricians and public health officials. Participants’ knowledge and level of confidence surrounding a pediatric public health emergency increased after the exercise.
The tabletop exercise was effective in identifying strategies to improve pediatric public health preparedness as well as enhancing participants’ knowledge and confidence surrounding a potential pediatric public health emergency. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2018;12:582–586)
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