The latest survey regarding the readiness of America for health emergencies proved interesting, as it took many factors into consideration when ranking the states and measuring their previous responses and current capabilities to handle health issues of a wide and dangerous nature. One aspect of the research specifically compiled data regarding antiviral purchases in preparation for a flu epidemic, and the results found many states highly prepared while thirteen of them fell far short of being equipped to deal with current or future pandemic situations.
For seven years, two organizations have examined America’s readiness for health emergencies. Trust for America’s Health, a nonprofit with a concentration on making disease prevention a national priority, joined with The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, a philanthropic group dedicated to health and health care issues in America, to compile the “Ready or Not? Protecting the Public’s Health from Diseases, Disasters, and Bioterrorism” report. And in the seven years, authors have noted significant improvements over time.
When the H1N1 outbreak took America by storm, researchers noted that most states were more prepared than ever before to handle the disease, though others were not, and the overall handling of H1N1 showed many weaknesses remaining in the system as a whole and state by state. Overall, the report concluded that the distribution of funds to the states were dedicated to vaccines but not enough to cover staff who could track and report on the pandemic or share information in a way that would help the entire nation respond appropriately. Additional conclusions noted that the funds given to state and local governments was less than sufficient due to the economic crisis, and with state budgets cut by one-fourth, the flu epidemic was underfunded.
In examination of all of the 50 states and their purchases of antiviral medications for use during a flu pandemic, only 37 states and the District of Columbia purchased 50 percent or more of their federally-subsidized antiviral drugs for stockpiling purposes. The top twelve purchased more than 100 percent of what was necessary in order to be prepared for H1N1 or any flu epidemic that would require it. Delaware came in at the very top of the list with more than 200 percent of the required stockpile, and Washington, D.C. and Wyoming both took care of approximately 50 percent more than required.