Fargo Cass Public Health (FCPH) and Clay County Public Health (CCPH) received high scores from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for their Cities Readiness Initiative (CRI) preparedness planning. FCPH received a perfect score of 100, and CCPH received an exceptional score of 98.
The purpose of the CRI plan is to receive stage, distribute, and dispense medical assets received from the CDC’s Strategic National Stockpile or other sources. CRI is a federally a funded program designed to enhance preparedness in the nation’s largest cities and metropolitan statistical areas (MSA) where more than 50% of the U.S. population resides. Through CRI, state and large metropolitan public health departments have developed plans to respond to a large-scale bioterrorist event by dispensing antibiotics to the entire population of an identified MSA with 48 hours.
Ruth Bachmeier, FCPH executive director, and Kathy McKay, CCPH administrator, say that the scores are a great accomplishment, but work on emergency preparedness is ongoing. Bachmeier adds, “Preparing adequately for future outbreaks – and other public health emergencies that are inevitable and may occur simultaneously – requires predictable and adequate long-term funding to sustain and improve the public health infrastructure, staffing, and training”.
Public health threats are always present, whether caused by natural, accidental, or intentional means. Incidents such as the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic, and other disease outbreaks and natural disasters such as flooding, underscore the importance of communities being prepared for all types of hazards. To ensure continued readiness, CDC and state public health personnel conduct annual technical assistance reviews to assess the plans for each local jurisdiction.