About 70 percent of the overall budget for the Department of Public Health comes from federal grants. And that federal money has seen significant reductions. From fiscal 2012 to fiscal 2013, across all programs, Public Health lost about $25 million in federal money. And that drop has continued.
A chasm exists in language learning. It involves the cumulative total of words that babies and toddlers hear — and even more importantly, the words they don’t hear. It’s called the “30 million word gap.” If children don’t have good language skills, they can’t make good progress. And Georgia is losing too many before the age 3 when it comes to verbal proficiency.
A report released Tuesday ranks Georgia at the bottom of states on protecting against infectious disease threats. But Georgia public health officials, responding to the report, said Tuesday that some of the indicators are misleading or erroneous. And they said the authors of the report did not contact the state Department of Public Health to verify their findings.
Flu cases are ticking up in Georgia. Public health officials announced the first influenza-related deaths in Georgia this flu season—two adults in metro Atlanta. Officials did not provide further details about the two who died. The Department of Public Health says that while the flu level is still considered minimal in Georgia, it is reporting increases in flu activity statewide, including hospitalizations.
The nation’s rate of maternal mortality has been steadily rising, and nowhere is that increase more evident than in Georgia. Georgia has the highest rate of maternal deaths among the 50 states, according to public health officials here. The Georgia estimate of 35 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births in 2011 has risen from 20.5 from the period 2001 to 2006.
Flu activity in Georgia is low right now. But after a spike in illnesses last year after Thanksgiving, state public health workers are on alert. They want more Georgians to get their flu shot so activity stays low.
Organizers of Georgia’s first-ever Farm to Preschool Summit Friday and Saturday hope to help educators bring local fruits and vegetables into the classroom – as subject matter and nourishment. The summit will gather 200 people from across Georgia to learn the best ways to incorporate more local produce into lesson plans and meals for preschoolers.
Thursday is National HIV Testing Day. The state Department of Public Health is teaming up with its national partner, Greater than AIDS, and health departments around the state to offer free HIV testing. Health officials say more than 1.1 million people in the U.S. are living with HIV, but 20 percent of them don't know it.
Georgia health and emergency officials are using social media to educate the public about preparing for an emergency. The Georgia Department of Public Health and the Georgia Emergency Management Agency plan to host a Twitter chat about emergency preparedness at 3 p.m. Tuesday.