Arizona county reaches out to immigrant population for bioterror preparedness
| 05.24.2007 | 08:56:53 | Views: 2913 | ID:
May 24 '07: In Arizona, Maricopa County officials have announced that they will work with their local immigrant population, both legal and illegal, in an effort to establish trust between the local government and its residents for bioterror preparedness, the Arizona Republic reported.
Officials in the county said they wanted to develop a grass-roots outreach program using help from trusted local pastors and community leaders among illegal immigrant populations. In other parts of the country, such as LA County, California, public health officials planned to used alerts in several languages informing all immigrants that medical help would be provided in the event of a pandemic without legal recourse.The outreach program came "A year after the county received a poor grade for its bioterrorism-preparedness plan," AR reported. County officials told the paper that the illegal immigrant population in the county posed a significant roadblock in overall preparedness and pandemic response because in the event of a bioterror attack or a disease outbreak, those populations would be fearful of governmental castigation and would not seek medical attention, thus worsening the problem. Mark Hart, the county's health department special populations coordinator told AR that the illegal immigrant population is "going to rank as among the hardest-to-reach populations. ... It is a twofold challenge: finding and informing them, and then getting them to come," obtain health and preparedness information. Mariposa County received a $1.3 million federal grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for their program.
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