Via CIDRAP, Lisa Schnirring writes: US preparedness index finds sluggish, uneven progress. Click or tap through for the full report and several useful links. Excerpt:
At the national level, preparedness for health emergencies improved slightly, but an annual index to track progress found worrying discrepancies at the state level that create a widening gap in the years ahead, especially in low-income areas and those that are vulnerable to public health emergencies.
The National Health Security Preparedness Index (NHSPI) was released today by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), which funds the effort. Originally developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the assessment is a collaborative effort by many groups that analyzes 130 different measures. Taken together, it provides a comprehensive snapshot of national health security and preparedness.
On a 10-point scale, it gave the United States an overall score of 6.8 for 2016, up from 6.7 last year and from 6.4 in 2013, when the index began.
Alonzo Plough, PhD, MPH, chief science officer and a vice president at RWJF, said today in a news release that the data highlight strengths and gaps. "Improving health security and preparedness is important for all communities across the country. In our highly mobile country, national emergency preparedness depends on having high levels of protection in every state, city, and region."
Of six main dimensions—ranging from mobilizing resources after health incidents to involving stakeholders during crises—the nation as a whole improved except for one area: the ability to prevent health impacts from environmental or occupational hazards. That area is the only one showing decline from 2013.
Anna Hoover, PhD, MA, deputy director of the index and assistant professor of preventive medicine and environmental health at the University of Kentucky, told CIDRAP News that this category reflects food and water safety and environmental monitoring and that, for example, some states' public health laboratories have scaled back air quality monitoring, and it's not clear if they've dropped their programs or transferred them to other entities.
On the other hand, an area that continues to show strong gains—up 16% since 2013—is mobilizing stakeholders to work together during crisis times. "Communities are doing better with cross-sector collaboration; that's promising to see," Hoover said.