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NRHA asks Congress to support Border Health Security Act

The National Rural Health Association (NRHA) urges members of Congress to support the Border Health Security Act introduced by Senators Tom Udall (D-NM) and Martin Heinrich (D-NM). NRHA believes Congress must continue to make investments in emergency preparedness, health surveillance, and rural community infrastructure, particularly, at our nation’s borders. The United States-Mexico Border Health Commission has worked over the past decade to address major bi-national health issues that strain the public health systems of both nation’s along the shared border. A major focus is on communicable diseases, such as H1N1, hepatitis, and measles, since these diseases do not recognize nor respect borders. As the Commission enters its second decade, the focus must be broadened and strengthened to improve defenses against bioterrorism, to warn of communicable disease outbreaks, and address the many health disparities in the border region. The legislation would reauthorize the Early Warning Infectious Disease Surveillance (EWIDS) program. Created in 2003, it provide states along the U.S.-Mexico and U.S.-Canada borders with funding to detect, identify, and report outbreaks of infectious diseases. The bill also authorizes $7 million per year for border grants and operations. The House companion bill will be introduced by Rep. Rubén Hinojosa (D-TX).

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