Open Letter Outlines Key Components to Address Impact of Future Health Emergencies
The Partnership to Fight Infectious Disease (PFID) today sent an open letter to President-elect Joe Biden and his incoming administration to prioritize the buildout of a National Pandemic Preparedness Strategy. The Partnership is a group of patients, providers, health policy experts, community organizations, and business and labor groups that have joined together to raise awareness of threats posed by infectious disease, now a very stark reality in the U.S., as well as advance solutions to ensure future pandemic preparedness.
"Amid this pandemic, which has already claimed more than 270,000 American lives, our country has witnessed firsthand the health, economic and societal impacts of national health emergencies. The need to improve pandemic preparedness now, in order to prevent or otherwise lessen the impact of current and future national health emergencies, has never been more apparent," wrote Ken Thorpe, PFID advisory board member and Chairman of the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease.
In the detailed letter, also delivered to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, the Partnership outlined the key elements required for a successful National Pandemic Preparedness Strategy:
Address the needs of front-line workers;
Address existing and growing public health threats associated with pandemics;
Address the current and growing crisis of antimicrobial resistance (AMR);
Support a health care infrastructure that ensures access for all and addresses challenges to achieving health equity; and
Encourage the public and private sectors to work collaboratively.
The Partnership stressed the clear need to deal with the current crisis but with a vision for how to optimize lessons learned to mitigate future risks. Among several ideas, the group highlighted the need to support investment in medical products critical to preventing future pandemics and ensuring that front line medical staff have all the resources they need to save lives, including life-saving antibiotics.
Further, the Partnership contends that the preparedness strategy must facilitate access to health care for America’s most vulnerable populations elevating the importance of investment in telehealth systems that enable patients to access medical are remotely. The letter also highlighted considerations to address the behavioral health impacts associated with infectious disease outbreaks and expressed that the strategy should also be supported with a national communications plan to disseminate consistent, credible information about ongoing and emerging public health threats.
"Without effective planning, we may one day face an infectious disease crisis even more deadly and disruptive than COVID-19," concluded Thorpe.
Read the full letter here.
The Partnership to Fight Infectious Disease (PFID) is a group of patients, providers, community organizations, business and labor groups, and health policy experts working to advance awareness and action on antimicrobial resistance. As an initiative of the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease, PFID is focusing on the impact of this growing issue on our population and health care system.
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