Baltimore, Md., Launches Effort to Improve Worst Health Problems
May 13, 2011
HIV infection is among the top 10 health issues plaguing Baltimoreans, prompting city officials to release a strategy to combat them with measurable results by 2015.
Specifically, Healthy Baltimore 2015 aims to decrease new HIV, syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia infections in youths by 25 percent. It also aims to lower the teen birth and infant mortality rates by 20 and 10 percent, respectively.
According to Dr. Oxiris Barbot, city health commissioner, the success of the plan is dependent upon wide-scale participation. The plan's reach will extend to every Baltimore neighborhood, hospitals, local associations, private industry, and faith-based groups.
"Where we live, work and play has as much to do with keeping us healthy as making us sick," said Barbot. "Healthy Baltimore is not about what the city Health Department is doing, it's more about what community groups and institutions can do along with the city." Park Heights, for example, has convened a task force of residents and other concerned parties to deal with its disproportionately high HIV rate and other issues.
No new funding is allocated to the program, though Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake has indicated all Baltimore agencies will single out resources and prioritize projects based on need, Barbot said. Those projects will work in tandem with current public and private programs to lower the city's disease, infection, and addiction rates.
Baltimore's Health Department also will coordinate the creation of a new office of policy and planning, and select a director who will manage its efforts and document their progress.
05.10.11; Meredith Cohn
This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
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