Dear Government; Sincerely, Public Health

By: Stephanie Smith

Dear Government,

For almost a full week now, you’ve been shutdown—stemming from disagreements between the Senate and the House of Representatives over the passage of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. But aside from the effect that the new act has on the accessibility and affordability of health insurance for Americans, this shutdown is also affecting the national public health agenda.

We’ve seen photos of National Parks and Monuments with information about the unfortunate closure taped to the entrance, but did you think about the implications that this shutdown would have on your agencies involved in health care? Here’s a break down of everything that’s shutdown in the public health sphere, that needs to be restored.

Clinical Trials Halted  The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is unable to accept any new participants or patients to research studies or their hospital, in Maryland. Any clinical trials that were planned to begin are being put on hold. However, it is important to know that those already enrolled in research studies or are already patients in the hospital, prior to the shutdown, are being treated in the same manner that they would have been before October 1st.

CDC Disruption  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is unable to support the seasonal flu program and outbreak detection. The CDC will lose the opportunity to continue monitoring infectious disease rates during this shutdown. Though there are still several programs running, only about 4,000 of the 13,000 employees of the CDC are working at this time.

FDA Impairment  The Food and Drug Administration will be unable to support the usual food safety, nutrition, and cosmetics activities. Routine inspections involving compliance and enforcement, the monitoring of imports and lab research needed to inform public health decisions are closed.

Aside from these issues, seniors and children that receive healthy food through government-funded organizations will not have access to these services. The employees of all of these agencies are also suffering from the closing of their workplaces.

So please, for the sake of the nation, figure out a way to compromise.

Sincerely,

All Americans That Care About the Health of the Nation