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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

October 20, 2014 at 12:05 PM

Fund local public health to combat all communicable diseases

Not one city in Snohomish County is contributing a dime toward ensuring our public-health system is strong and ready to respond to health situations that impact us all [“Fund Public Health — Seattle & King County, for much more than Ebola response,” Opinion, Oct. 13].

Communicable diseases such as tuberculosis and the emergence of new diseases like Ebola have our U.S. public-health systems in the spotlight. When we shine a light on our public-health systems in Snohomish and King County, we see years of budget cuts and upcoming reforms that thin out public health’s core work.

Eighty full-time staff positions since 2008 have been eliminated at the Snohomish Health District. Nearly 50,000 clients, mostly in South King County, might lose services from Public Health — Seattle & King County in January 2015. These cuts would decrease and privatize lifesaving services.

As much as we are shocked by the lack of infrastructure for public health in developing countries due to crippling poverty, we need to strengthen our core public-health programs in King and Snohomish County. This is possible with your support, but you must speak out. If we don’t invest in public health at the community, state and national level, the minimum would get done and vital programs that we take for granted would disappear.

Teresa Rugg, director of TB Photovoice, Snohomish

Comments | More in Health | Topics: Ebola, public health, Public Health — Seattle & King County

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