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U.S. Should Create Public Health Emergency Fund, Invest In Infectious Disease Response Efforts

Washington Post: Zika is coming, but we’re far from ready
Ronald A. Klain, White House Ebola response coordinator from 2014 to 2015

“…We can no longer accept surprise as an excuse for a response that is slow out of the gate. … Disease must be fought overseas to lessen the risk of transmission to the United States. We need to continue to press for World Health Organization reform, support the European Union proposal for a ‘white helmet’ battalion to respond to epidemic crises as needed, and increase our investment in the Obama administration’s Global Health Security Agenda to help other nations build up their own disease-fighting capabilities. … Here at home, we owe the American people an infectious-disease response effort as prompt, well-funded, and effective as the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) at its best. We should create a Public Health Emergency Management Agency (PhEMA). And, whether it is housed in a new agency or put under the CDC or elsewhere in the Department of Health and Human Services, we should create a public health emergency fund that the president can draw down in the face of a dangerous epidemic — without waiting for Congress to act…” (5/22).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.