The National Health Security Preparedness Index, which “tracks the nation’s progress in preparing for, responding to, and recovering from disasters and other large-scale emergencies that pose risks to health and well-being in the United States” has released its 2019 Summary of Key Findings. The Index examines six categories of health security: Health Security Surveillance, Community Planning and Engagement, Information and Incident Management, Healthcare Delivery, Countermeasure Management, and Environmental and Occupational Health.
The 2019 Index shows that while 2018 was wrought with natural disasters, public health epidemics, and devastating community violence that called on the nation’s emergency response systems, it saw of the one of the highest levels of health security in recorded history. The largest gains in National Health occurred in the distribution of supplies and equipment during disasters, but the numbers also show a large growth in geographic disparities. The comparative health security between the highest and lowest scoring states increased significantly from 2017.
Even with a slow pace of improvement, declining community engagement, and pockets of communities with decreasing populations experiencing lower health security, the report concludes that the gains outweigh the losses in the majority of categories analyzed.
In a report published by The Trust for America’s Health, suggestions for improving national health security center primarily on maintaining multi-sector networks, implementing a plan for more flexible use of resources, enhancing information systems, involving the private sector, and focusing future efforts on the rural communities that fall between the larger, more densely-populated regions.
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