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H1N1 Toolkit for Nonprofits

by Annie Sutton

The Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (“CDC”) reminds us that although the H1N1 (“swine flu”) virus appears no more dangerous than the normal seasonal flu, many more people than usual are expected to become ill this fall and winter because most people have no immunity to the H1N1 strain. In fact, many communities already are feeling the impact of this flu strain. The World Health Organization (WHO) identified H1N1 as a pandemic in June 2009. To date, WHO has identified over 120,000 confirmed cases of H1N1 flu in the Americas, resulting in close to 2,500 deaths. While these numbers alone are not cause for panic, they evidence the very serious nature of this flu strain. Therefore, all nonprofits should recognize and take steps to protect their own employees, as well as those they serve.

The expectations are that H1N1 will hit communities hard and that some nonprofits will be hit harder than others. In particular, schools and nonprofits providing residential services, child care, elder care and health services will be the hardest hit. But all nonprofits need to be prepared to address the needs of their clients/consumers, plus their own employees and volunteers. Board and staff leaders must recognize that they are responsible to ensure the continuity of the nonprofit’s business operations and that a serious flu outbreak could have a very serious impact on mission fulfillment.

To help, the National Council of Nonprofits has prepared special resources to provide nonprofits with up-to-date information, sample policy language, and other tools to help you avoid and get through the flu season.

Visit this special secton on their website for more information.

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