Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

[Report] Protecting the Public from Diseases, Disasters, and Bioterrorism

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Mississippi did as well as the best states (7 out of 10). My state, Ohio, had a 6 out of 10 as did Massachusetts.

 

An excerpt from the December 2012 article at HealthyAmericans.org

The Ready or Not? report provides a snapshot of our nation’s public health emergency preparedness. Its indicators are developed in consultation with leading public health experts based on data from publicly available sources, or information provided by public officials. Some key findings from the report include:

  • 29 states cut public health funding from fiscal years (FY) 2010-11 to 2011-12, with 23 of these states cutting funds for a second year in a row and 14 for three consecutive years. In addition, federal funds for state and local preparedness have decreased 38 percent from FY 2005-2012 (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) funds, adjusted for inflation). States are reporting that gains in public health preparedness achieved in the past decade since September 11, 2001 are eroding, and since 2008, budget cuts have resulted in more than 45,700 job losses at state and local health departments;
  • Only two states have met the national goal of vaccinating 90 percent of young children, ages 19-36 months, against whooping cough (pertussis). This year Washington state has seen one of the most significant whooping cough outbreaks in recent history;
  • 35 states and Washington, D.C. do not currently have complete climate change adaptation plans, which include planning for health threats posed by extreme weather events;
  • 20 states do not mandate all licensed child care facilities to have a multi-hazard written evacuation plan; and
  • 13 state public health laboratories report they do not have sufficient capacity to work five, 12-hour days for six to eight weeks in response to an infectious disease outbreak, such as novel influenza A H1N1.

“Public health preparedness has improved leaps and bounds from where we were 10 years ago,” said Paul Kuehnert, MS RN Director of the Public Health Team at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. “But severe budget cuts at the federal, state and local levels threaten to undermine that progress. We must establish a baseline of ‘better safe than sorry’ preparedness that should not be crossed.”

The Ready or Not? report provides a series of recommendations that address many of the major gaps in emergency health preparedness, including:

  • Reauthorize the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act (PAHPA), which expires at the end of this year;
  • Assure sufficient, dedicated funds for public health preparedness to ensure basic capabilities to respond to threats public health departments face every day and also to have the trained experts and systems in place to act quickly in the face of major, unexpected emergencies;
  • Provide ongoing support to communities so they better cope and recover from emergencies;
  • Modernize biosurveillance to a real-time, interoperable system to better detect and respond to problems;
  • Seriously address antibiotic resistance;
  • Improve research, development and manufacturing of medical countermeasures;
  • Increase readiness for extreme weather events; and
  • Update the nation’s food safety system.

The report was supported by a grant from RWJF and is available on TFAH’s website atwww.healthyamericans.org and RWJF’s website at www.rwjf.org.

January 15, 2013 - Posted by | Public Health | , , , ,

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