Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Making a list, checking it twice . . .

As you ought to know by now, the national pandemic flu preparedness plan -- and our public health emergency preparedness plans in general -- consist largely of:

Local health departments, get ready!

So, it looks like a citizen who wants to know whether to kiss his or her own ass goodbye needs to check up on the state and local health departments. CDC has at least given us checklists for doing that, through the National Public Health Performance Standards Program.

If you click on the link on the left-hand side called "The Instruments," you will find detailed checklists of capabilities and resources against which state and local health departments can be evaluated, based on an inventory of "Ten Essential Services." Emergency preparedness gets fairly short shrift -- it's a sub-sub-category under essential service #2, "Diagnose and investigate health problems and health hazards in the community," where it doesn't even seem to fit very well. But it's there.

The rest of the stuff is also very important. These are useful documents because they at least establish some standards. Now, putting in the resources to assure that those standards are met . . . naah, that would smack of creeping socialism.

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