A public health law expert, Lawrence O. Gostin, said that the U.S. House bill for Zika emergency funding at $622 million falls dramatically short of what is needed, and the delay in Congressional action has "compromised the ability of state health departments to prepare for Zika."
Earlier this year, President Obama asked Congress for nearly $1.9 billion in emergency funding for surveillance, mosquito control, research and health services related to the Zika virus.
‘US public health law expert, Lawrence O. Gostin stated that Zika has not only public health importance, but is also of moral importance because the disease is most likely to affect poor women and their babies.’
"The lack of adequate funding threatens the health of Americans," say Gostin, faculty director of the O'Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law. He adds:
"Congress has no greater responsibility than to safeguard the public's health and security. Yet legislators have delayed for more than three months before addressing emergency appropriations to prepare the nation for a looming Zika epidemic.
"Those were vital months where states and territories would have been able to build the capacity to control mosquitoes, clean up breeding grounds, and educate the public.
"Summer is nearly upon us and finally Congress is acting, but with far less than the President requested and what the nation needs.
"Now public health agencies will have to scramble to prepare for clusters of Zika. If as a result of this delay babies are born in mainland America with Zika-related deformities, there will be a high price to pay.
"Zika has not only public health importance, but is also of moral importance because the disease is most likely to affect poor women and their babies."