New Mexico Tests Ability To Receive Medical Supplies During Public Health Emergency

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Public Health Emergency

New Mexico Department of Health helped the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention test its ability to deliver medical supplies to the state during a public health emergency.

Today, the Department of Health successfully unloaded 50 tons of medical pharmaceuticals within about an hour of receiving them.

The full-day exercise involved the CDC delivering a package of medicine and medical supplies from the Strategic National Stockpile to one of New Mexico's established distribution sites within 12 hours of determining need. The Bureau of Health Emergency Management staff unloaded the 130 containers of supplies, enough to care for the entire population of New Mexico.

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In a public health emergency, the Department would then distribute the medicine and medical supplies to about 150 distribution locations, where people would be directed to receive them.

"We are pleased the CDC chose New Mexico to test the national system for responding to states' needs during a public health emergency," said Health Secretary Dr. Alfredo Vigil. "This is part of our preparedness efforts to protect New Mexicans to the best of our ability during a public health emergency."

The Strategic National Stockpile contains large quantities of medicine and medical supplies to protect the public if there is a public health emergency, such as a terrorist attack or flu outbreak that is severe enough to drain local supplies. Once federal and state officials agree that New Mexico needs supplies from the Strategic National Stockpile, the medicines will be delivered to the state within 12 hours.

New Mexico, like all states, has a plan to receive and distribute these materials, such as antibiotics, antitoxins, life support medications and medical/surgical items, to local communities as quickly as possible. The Department of Health's Bureau of Health Emergency Management is in charge of that plan.

The CDC conducts a few full-scale exercises of the Strategic National Stockpile each year. The CDC reviewed the Department of Health's SNS plan and determined that New Mexico was capable of participating in today's exercise.

In addition to the Department's Health Emergency Management staff, the New Mexico State Police, New Mexico Board of Pharmacy, Office of Emergency Management and Indian Health Services were involved in the drill.

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