A Kansas company hired to review Iowa’s hospitals and public health departments has concluded the state is prepared to respond to an attack of bioterrorism. Jami Haberl, the executive director for Iowa’s Center of Disaster Operations, says the state has improved dramatically compared with a similar survey taken in 2003. “One of the biggest areas that the public would be happy to know that we scored well on and we’ve improved upon is that we have vaccination clinics and dispensing clinics located across the state of Iowa where the public would be able to come to to receive their medications or their vaccines in the event of a public health emergency,” she says. Haberl is pleased with the overall review. She says Iowa improved “dramatically” in all areas, including planning, disease surveillance, training, education and added equipment in hospitals and county health agencies.Haberl says she and other officials are laying plans to respond to all sorts of public health emergencies — from smallpox to some sort of plague. “It’s just like being prepared for a flood…you want to be able to respond so that you can reduce the morbidity and mortality,” Haberl says.
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