Professor Priscilla Wald spoke on a radio program this week called On the Media. She said, "The vector of Ebola is poverty." This same vector is involved in tuberculosis in many parts of the world. Poverty is what keeps TB thriving in communities that lack strong public health systems. Our TB Voices participants and those from our TB photovoice groups around the world all express the need to strengthen our public health systems and continue to educate our communities about TB. If our public health systems are not healthy, then our communities are not healthy.
Here is our view of public health in Snohomish County. Our TB Voices Project participants all stressed the importance of compassionate public health workers in their recovery process.
Not one city in Snohomish County is contributing a dime towards ensuring our public health system is strong and ready to respond to health situations that impact us all. Communicable diseases such as Tuberculosis and the emergence of new diseases like Ebola have our U.S. public health systems in the spotlight. 850 babies were recently exposed to TB in El Paso, Texas, and Ebola tragically continues to impact families in West Africa and across the globe. When we shine a light on our public health systems in Snohomish and King County, we see years of budget cuts and now upcoming reforms that thin out public health's core work. 80 full time staff positions since 2008 have been eliminated at the Snohomish Health District. As much as we are shocked by the lack of infrastructure for public health in developing countries due to crippling poverty, we need to strengthen our core public health programs here in Snohomish County. This is possible with your support, but you must speak out. If we don't invest in public health at the community, state, and national level, the minimum will get done and vital programs that we take for granted will disappear.