June 6, 2002
The State Department of Health was notified today by the U.S.
Department of Health and Human Services that it received approval to
expend $8,416,564 in federal funds to assist the state in building its
public health and emergency response systems. Hawaii was one of just 24
states to receive approval to expend its entire allocation of
Health Director Bruce Anderson said, "This funding gives Hawaii an
unprecedented opportunity to improve upon our ability to respond to
threats of bioterrorism and at the same time strengthen our public
health infrastructure." He added, "Funds will be expended in
partnerships developed with the counties, state and community agencies,
such as the University of Hawaii, Red Cross and others."
Dr. Anderson also said, "I’m very pleased we received our
entire allocation. This is a testament to the commitment of our
Department staff that worked diligently in a very short amount of time
to develop a comprehensive plan that met all critical areas."
The funds will be used to further enhance on the state’s
comprehensive bioterrorism preparedness plans, upgrade infectious
disease surveillance and investigation, enhance the readiness of
hospital systems, expand state laboratory and communication capacities,
and improve connectivity between hospitals, and city, local and state
Funds will also be used to support each county in the development of
their own individual emergency preparedness plans, which will then be
integrated into an overall statewide plan.
The State Department of Health (DOH) began development of a
bioterrorism preparedness plan in 1999 with federal funding from the
CDC. Since then, collaboration between federal, state, county and
private agencies has been ongoing.
In addition to a state-of-the-art, 24/7-laboratory disease
surveillance system recognized nationally, the DOH has an extensive
communication network with hospitals and physicians statewide. A
working bioterrorism task force representing all government levels, as
well as private hospitals is also in place and legislation was passed
this year to update and strengthen emergency health powers needed to
quickly respond and improve disease investigation. Work is also
currently underway to reorganize areas of the Department and further
expand State Laboratory capacity to better address public health
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