The Issue of Smallpox Bioterrorism – Social&Family Issues Example

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"The Issue of Smallpox Bioterrorism" is a good example of a paper on social/family issues. This refers to the deliberate release of germs such as viruses and bacteria with the aim of causing death or sickness. Based on the fact that such attacks can be highly damaged, this poses a major challenge to the healthcare system in the United States on preparedness and dealing with such attacks.                       Unfortunately, the current healthcare system is not well prepared to deal with such attacks. In an article by Brooke Courtney, at al.

(2009), the authors note that the country is not fully prepared to handle catastrophic health events that put pressure on the healthcare system. For instance, in the event of an aerosolized anthrax attack in a major city like Washington DC, it is projected that at least 0.3 million people will be exposed and this will put enormous pressure on the current healthcare facilities (Courtney, 2009).   In response to this unpreparedness, the Hospital Preparedness Program (HPP) was established in 2002 to help the country’ s hospitals are well prepared to deal with bioterrorism. This program not only helps individual hospitals to enhance preparedness but also facilitates coordination among healthcare facilities in a given region (Courtney, 2009).

However, this is just one of the many programs that have failed to prepare the country for bioterrorist attacks. Some of the challenges faced by healthcare coalitions include insufficient funding, inconsistent geographical boundaries, and the inability to share private and sensitive information. This calls for future improvements and changes in the healthcare system.   This may involve increasing the levels of funding for healthcare preparedness, ensuring all healthcare providers are involved and promoting strong linkages between adjacent healthcare coalitions regardless of their political and jurisdictional differences (Courtney, 2009).                       Another response strategy that has been taken by the government is the development and distribution of vaccines to defend against diseases such as anthrax, plague, and smallpox among others.

The Department of Health and Human Services has been running the Project BioShield program since 2004 to manage the production and distribution of such vaccines (Hylton, 2011). Although this program has led to the development of many vaccines, there are still deficiencies.

For example, despite the millions of dollars that have been invested in the development of an anthrax vaccine, a new one yet to be found. The current vaccine in use has a number of identified side effects (Hylton, 2011). This is a major challenge for the US healthcare system. In particular, it is necessary for better and efficient vaccines to be developed in the future in order to effectively deal with such threats.                       In an article by Edward Richards (2010) on the ability of the US to defend itself against smallpox bioterrorism, the author notes that the current plan by the CDC is based on assumptions about the cooperation of the public, healthcare infrastructure and the political leadership.

In order for the country to be fully prepared for bioterrorist attacks, the author notes that there is a need for a better response infrastructure (Richards, 2010). This calls for more investments in the public health system in order to equip the health facilities to deal with such threats. In addition, there is a need for political will and public awareness of the importance of such initiatives.                       It is thus evident that there is a need for further improvements in the healthcare system in order to enhance the country’ s preparedness for such threats.

Although a number of programs have been established, these initiatives have certain weaknesses that have to be addressed in the future.

References

Courtney, et al. (2009). Healthcare Coalitions: The New Foundation for National Healthcare Preparedness and Response for Catastrophic Health Emergencies. Biosecurity and Bioterrorism: Biodefense Strategy, Practice, and Science, 7(2), pp. 154-163.

Hylton, W (2011). How Ready Are We for Bioterrorism? The New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/30/magazine/how-ready-are-we-for- bioterrorism.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

Richards, E (2010). The United States Smallpox Bioterrorism Preparedness Plan: Rational Response or Potemkin Planning? William Mitchell Law Review, 36(5), pp. 5179-5220.

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