miércoles, 4 de febrero de 2015

Scenario planning in biosurveillance projects

For the current post, I want to talk about one issue we have been discussing today in our research meeting. And this is about one element of the preparedness logic of government: the scenario planning.

The source of this topic is one document we have found in the CDC website where it is exposed a scenario about an hypothetical tuberculosis contagion inside the United States. Scenario-based exercise, in words of Lakoff (2007) is a technical operation inside prepardness logic of government, and consists:

In the quest to be prepared for the eventuality of thermonuclear war, Kahn
counseled, every possibility should be pursued. “With sufficient preparation,” he wrote,
“we actually will be able to survive and recuperate if deterrence fails.”23 Kahn invented a
method for “thinking about the unthinkable” that would make such planning possible:
scenario development. Scenarios served two purposes. One was to assist in designing
role-playing games in which decision-makers would enact the lead-up to war with the
Soviet Union. In the absence of the actual experience of a nuclear standoff, these
exercises provided officials and military planners with something close to the sense of
urgency such a crisis would bring. The second use of scenarios was to force both planners
and the public to seriously face the prospect of nuclear catastrophe as something that

must be planned for in detail.

Thus, we can see scenarios as the solution for one event that we cannot know neither when nor where will emerge, as a potential pandemics. For this, traditional risk-asessment is not useful because it cannot be controlled or foreseen at the basis of past events because its configuration is not ever seen before. What we need, then, for it managing? a pre-event preparation, based in imagination:
The general problem scenario planning addressed was how to approach an
unprecedented event. Scenarios were not predictions or forecasts, but opportunities for
exercising an agile response capability. They trained leaders to deal with the
unanticipated. “Imagination,”

Our reflection is about one previous step: how is defined scenarios by bio-experts? what are the root of this concept in biosecurity and biosurveillance projects? how does it works? it is true that scenarios are based in imagination?


Lakoff, Andrew. (2007). Preparing for the Next Emergency. Public Culture 19(2)247–271.

Photo Credit: Flickr, user Manuel M. Almeida