Concord, NH – The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) announces that the nonprofit organization Trust for America’s Health issued its annual report today entitled, “Ready or Not? Protecting the Public’s Health from Diseases, Disasters, and Bioterrorism” and New Hampshire received a perfect 10. The report ranks all 50 states and Washington, DC, on public health preparedness improvements made since 9/11 on ten preparedness criteria, which change from year to year. New Hampshire received a score of ten out of ten, for the first time, along with only four other states.
“We are pleased with the progress we have made,” said DHHS Commissioner Nicholas A. Toumpas, “but we also realize this is no reason to sit back and relax. There is still much more planning, preparedness, and collaboration work to be done to be prepared for a large-scale public health emergency.”
Five of the criteria are repeated from last year, including: a plan for distribution of the strategic national stockpile, the purchase of a state cache of anti-virals, National Electronic Disease Surveillance System Compliance, emergency volunteer liability protection, and a commitment to public health funding. The five new criteria include: public health lab ability to receive specimens 24/7, public health lab capacity to diagnose a flu pandemic, liability protection for agencies that offer facilities or recruit volunteers, an identified Medical Reserve Corps coordinator, and food borne outbreak detection and diagnosis proficiency.
“Through a great deal of hard work on the part of our agency and our partners,” said Dr. José Montero, Director of Public Health for DHHS, “we have improved the public health and emergency preparedness in New Hampshire, but it was definitely a team effort. But, this report is and should also be viewed as a compositve of preparedness activities and planning across agencies, a snapshot if you will, and by no means indicates that the work is done. Our prepardness and response activities are continual.”
To view the entire “Ready or Not?” report, visit http://healthyamericans.org