Child Health on the Gulf Coast

Irwin Redliner says the worst child health
crisis in U.S. history is happening on the Gulf Coast right
now.

The gulf area
faces the worst
children’s health
crisis in modern
U.S. history
–Irwin Redlener

The worst crisis in child health in U.S. history is happening right now along the Gulf Coast according to Irwin Redlener, director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University.

Writing in the New York Times, Redlener says an estimated 175,000 children lack health care. One in three have a chronic condition such as asthma. Many have experienced emotional trauma but are not receiving the attention they need to manage it in a constructive way. If they attend school, it’s likely to be overcrowded. They live in tiny trailers in temporary settlements, apart from community supports and stabilizing routine.

They share one additional condition–poverty. They were poor before the storm, he says, and exist in worse circumstances now.

Redlener proposes an allocation of $100 million to “support a force of at least 200 pediatricians and family doctors, 100 specially trained mental health workers, 25 mobile medical units and a much strengthened school-based health care network throughout the gulf region. It could also put vital health care information in a computer database and set up virtual access to medical centers for children who can’t get to specialists’ offices.”

It seems a small price to pay for the health of these children whose lives have been turned topsy-turvy and whose health is being jeopardized daily.

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