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NACCHO Commends CDC on Preparedness Report


Contact Becky Wexler
(301) 652-1558

NACCHO Commends CDC on Preparedness Report
Washington, DC (September 21, 2010)— The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) commends the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for recognizing the strides made by state and local health departments in a new report released today. The third edition of Public Health Preparedness: Strengthening the Nation’s Emergency Response State by State indicates that state and local health departments made significant progress in 2008–2009 toward building and strengthening our nation’s public health emergency preparedness and response capabilities. These were demonstrated by successful public health responses to the H1N1 influenza pandemic, as well as numerous disease outbreaks and natural disasters.

"In these especially challenging economic times, local health departments across the country played a vital role in protecting the public's health." said Robert M. Pestronk, executive director of NACCHO. "Their dedication and resourcefulness has been exemplary. But their capacity is severely strained. Preparedness is an ongoing commitment, and local health departments need consistent, sustained funding to ensure continuous improvement.”

The nation's local health departments are a cornerstone of the nation’s public health defense system. Local health departments serve on the front lines of public health emergency response. They detect and stop epidemics of disease like influenza, tuberculosis, and foodborne illness, and they distribute and administer vaccines to prevent people from getting sick. But budget cuts and layoffs have made it difficult for health departments to keep communities safe and prepared for inevitable public health crises.

Earlier this year, NACCHO surveyed a sample of local health departments nationwide to measure the impact of current economic conditions on local health department budgets, workforce, and programs. The report, released in May 2010, showed that the recession and budget cuts at the federal, state, and local levels have caused local health departments to reduce their workforce by 25,500 jobs, or 15 percent. These cumulative reductions in staff are compromising local health departments’ ability to keep Americans safe and provide basic disease prevention and emergency preparedness services.

To speak with a local health official with an expertise in public health preparedness, contact Becky Wexler at bwexler@burnesscommunications.com.

Follow news about local health department budget cuts and innovative health department programs aimed at keeping people from getting the flu at www.naccho.org/newsmap.

About the National Association of County and City Health Officials
The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) represents the nation's 2,800 local governmental health departments. These city, county, metropolitan, district, and tribal departments work every day to protect and promote health and well-being for all people in their communities.