Budget Cuts to Fresno's Health Department

October 7, 2008 11:27:30 PM PDT
It will soon be more difficult for you to get simple services from Fresno's Health Department such as vaccines. Every child who comes to school must first get a set of vaccines. Many people like the Dhillon family rely on Fresno County's Health Department to subsidize expensive shots for their child. Rabel Bajaw said about her child's shots, "Each shot ... depends on what kind of shot it is ... (costs) at least $40, $30. She's getting at least 8 or 6 shots today, and I can't afford to pay that kind of money. "The Fresno County Board of Supervisors voted on Tuesday to cut more than $100,000 from the immunization clinic. While flu vaccines are available- getting them might be more difficult. Edward Moreno is the public health department director. Moreno said, "We are going to eliminate two positions which means that if someone was to show up looking for immunizations, they may have to wait or may have to reschedule when there's an opening."

Dangerous pathogens are tested in Fresno County's secure laboratory. Supervisors cut $80,000 from the lab's budget meaning diseases like hepatitis, syphilis and diagnosing HIV will no longer be done here. Moreno said, "Our public health lab will continue to perform certain tests which include tuberculosis, valley fever, MRSA, influenza, e-coli."

But even deeper cuts are on the way. Supervisor Bob Waterston said, "I regret now, only now at this time that I voted to take that much money and put it with the sheriff. I wish I could take it back now and give you that part of it." The board of supervisors must still find more than a million dollars to take away from the health department.

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