Public health leaders are urging the creation – and maintenance – of an ‘emergency fund’ for disasters that can be drawn from to combat outbreaks of major diseases.
When Zika virus broke out, there were no funds to help stop the disease from spreading. In February President Obama requested $1.9 billion from congress to go toward combating the diseases and funding immediate care, yet months later congress continues to debate the amount of money that will be approved.
An emergency fund for public health does in fact exist already; it was created in 1983. However, congress has only periodically added funds after the initial $30 million (in 1987, and again in 1993) and today it stands with a mere $57,000. Not nearly enough to cover costs for controlling the disease, developing vaccines, dealing with tests to locate the disease faster and dealing with the health impacts.
A recent proposed legislation seeks to replenish the public health emergency funds with $5 billion for future emergencies, as presented by Democratic Rep. Rosa De Laura from CT.
Read full story at: NPR