PPE Shortages & Funding Gaps for Pandemics - Bio-Defense Network
Mar 2020

PPE Shortages & Funding Gaps for Pandemics

Greg Burel headed the Strategic National Stockpile until late last year and had an interesting column in DomesticPreparedness Journal where he discussed the issue of Congress’ failure to properly fund the SNS and other preparedness efforts. Read his article here: https://www.domesticpreparedness.com/

“Preparedness for well understood threats and expert knowledge of how to respond to those threats – from a scientific, medical, and logistics perspective – is already established. Addressing the many lurking yet unknown threats is more challenging,” he writes.

For any threat, there is a need to harness and combine multiple important disciplines to shape and implement a response. For example, the unknown and novel threat – such as an emerging infectious disease (EID) – requires a precise response even when the EID threat is unpredictable and not well understood.
Despite EID threats being inevitable, the shifting requirements in responding to such threats shed a critical light on the current response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The SNS was created in 1999 and grew to include an estimated $8 billion worth of medical supplies, including medications that will be needed to respond to a bio-terrorism attack such as Anthrax. As Burel writes, he had to deal with “expanding missions, but not funds” over his years as head of the stockpile.

“The preparedness imperative of today’s SNS remains, but the mission continues to expand . . . The SNS mission grows boundlessly and the SNS is viewed globally as the gold standard of public health emergency response. . . . However, as is so often the case, expanding missions are not accompanied with expanding funds to accomplish the growing charge,” he writes.

So for those of us who have access to lawmakers, this should provide an opportunity to (dare we use the word?) “lobby” them for continued funding for public health preparedness efforts!

What do you think?

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