Preeclampsia Foundation Supports Emergency Funding for CDC's Surveillance for Emerging Threats to Mothers and Babies Program

Preeclampsia Foundation signs bipartisan letter asking House leaders to include funding for a key Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) program that helps identify emerging threats to mothers and babies. 

The 2016 Zika virus supplemental spending bill (P.L. 114-223) provided resources to nearly every state to support a surveillance system to monitor the health of moms and babies, which set the foundation for the CDC’s Surveillance for Emerging Threats to Mothers and Babies program.

This program collects data to support the monitoring and efforts to improve the health of pregnant women and infants and to link families to medical and social services to get recommended care. Program benefits also include strengthening laboratory and clinical testing to find emerging health threats to targeted populations quickly and contributing to efforts to ensure that public health systems are ready to meet the needs of pregnant women and infants during emergencies.

During the Zika virus outbreak, the program helped local and state public health officials collect real-time data to help inform clinical guidance, identify communities with local transmission, and appropriately allocate scarce public health resources. 

However, a failure to sustain federal funding after Zika has diminished the program’s scope. Whereas nearly all states participated then, today, the program collects data in only 13 jurisdictions (including six states) on pregnant women and their children through the first three years of life.

While several of these jurisdictions have asked to repurpose their existing programs for COVID-19, a national system is more important more than ever. We know that the virus is a threat in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and four territories.  Yet, to date, CDC has not released sufficient recommendations specific to the care, evaluation, or management of COVID-19 pregnant patients or infants. Investing in programs like the Surveillance for Emerging Threats to Mothers and Babies program can help us get those answers. 

See full group letter of support.

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