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National standard needed for U.S. public health system: WP

A child is carried into a COVID-19 vaccination site in Times Square, New York, the United States, on June 22, 2022. (Photo by Michael Nagle/Xinhua)

The Commonwealth Fund has proposed to set a national standard for health department capabilities and help them achieve it through new funding.

NEW YORK, July 6 (Xinhua) -- Since the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, it's been clear that the U.S. public health system needs major improvements, and it is the time to establish a national standard for the country's public health system, reported The Washington Post (WP) on Monday.

There is a fundamental problem with public health in the United States that long predated the pandemic: "It's disorganized, under-resourced, poorly coordinated and disconnected from the health-care delivery system," former New York state health commissioner Nirav R. Shah was quoted as saying.

There are nearly 3,000 local health departments with vastly different capabilities. Their disparities have been evident during the pandemic: some areas were quick to set up big vaccine clinics and free testing sites; others struggled with the basics of contact tracing, according to the report.

A blue-ribbon commission assembled by the Commonwealth Fund, a private fund devoted to public health care, has proposed to set a national standard for health department capabilities and help them achieve it through new funding, said the newspaper.

The proposal isn't to federalize public health, but to set standards. "Our goal is to make sure that there are basic public health protections for everyone regardless of where they live," commission member Julie Gerberding was quoted as saying. ■