On Public Health Security- February 2015

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On Public Health Security
February 2015
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Stephen C. Redd

Dear Partners,

The past month has brought a considerable amount of attention to preparedness. With a measles outbreak now spreading outside of California to additional states, hopeful signs in the Ebola response, and part of the country blanketed in snow and ice, we are constantly reminded that we must take steps to prepare for and mitigate the impact of threats on our communities. The February release of the President’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 Budget provides me with the opportunity to highlight some of the key CDC preparedness initiatives that will better protect our nation’s health. I will also share some updates about recent funding and activities in the fight against Ebola.

In the FY 2016 President’s Budget, CDC has proposed a $36.7 million increase to the Strategic National Stockpile. This funding will replace expiring medical countermeasures and maintain current CDC capabilities to respond to public health emergencies. A lack of Stockpile assets – pharmaceuticals, critical medical supplies, mobile Federal Medical Stations, and medical equipment-- could be devastating to the nation’s capacity to respond to a public health disaster such as a smallpox, pandemic flu, or anthrax outbreak. CDC has also proposed an additional $10 million increase for the Select Agent Program and the Import Permit Program to improve and increase regulation and oversight of dangerous pathogens and toxins. This funding increase is critical as it will allow an upgrade of import permitting and select agent databases, as well as support an anticipated 25% increase in inspections of entities that handle dangerous pathogens like Ebola and anthrax.

For the current fiscal year, we are working to implement the 2015 omnibus appropriation, which provided funding for PHPR’s daily operations as well as much needed emergency funding to fight Ebola. Congress awarded CDC almost $1.8 billion in emergency Ebola funding, about one third of which went to the international response, one third to Global Health Security, and the remaining one third to the domestic response. Using this domestic funding, CDC announced on January 15 the $145 million PHEP Supplemental for Ebola Preparedness and Response Activities (CDC-RFA-TP12-12010302SUPP15). This supplemental will support accelerated state and local public health preparedness planning and operational readiness for responding to Ebola in the 50 states, 4 localities, and 8 insular areas funded through the Public Health Emergency Preparedness (PHEP) cooperative agreement. CDC strongly encourages state health departments to work closely with local and tribal entities in their jurisdictions to ensure they have the information and resources needed to properly prepare for and respond to infectious disease outbreaks such as Ebola. The funding can be used to update operations plans for responding to Ebola, sustain effective monitoring programs for travelers from Ebola-impacted countries, ensure rapid and accurate laboratory testing, collaborate with healthcare systems to assure adequate supplies of personal protective equipment (PPE), purchase PPE for public health workers, coordinate appropriate environmental cleaning and waste management, and other activities. In the long run, the PHEP supplemental funding will further advance the state and local public health emergency response platform that PHEP has successfully built over the past decade. Grantee applications are due February 20, and CDC anticipates issuing awards in late March.

As the new director of OPHPR, I look forward to your continued support, innovative ideas, partnership, and hard work toward building health security.

Stephen C. Redd, MD
Director, Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Noteworthy Updates

Preparedness Tool

Disasters.data.gov, an open resource for the emergency response community that offers disaster-related open data, free tools, and innovative ways to empower survivors, first responders, and the government with the information necessary during an event. The website launched on December 15, 2014, and is open to the public.

Additional Resources

CDC’s annual National Snapshot of Public Health Preparedness has been published. The 2015 report presents public health preparedness and response activities that occurred during 2013 and 2014, including how the Public Health Emergency Preparedness (PHEP) cooperative agreements and other CDC resources have enhanced the nation’s ability to respond to public health threats and emergencies.

Partnerships Ebola Website

Visit the Ebola Response Section of the Partnerships website to get the latest Ebola updates and information for partners.