Recent editorials from Louisiana newspapers:
The Times-Picayune, New Orleans, on state medical partnerships:
In just about every major indicator of public health, Louisiana comes in near the bottom of the rankings. That's due in great part to poverty and the relative limited access to health care that comes with it, especially for many people with chronic diseases.
Eight Louisiana medical centers and schools are launching a partnership to find new drugs and treatments.
It makes sense, then, that eight medical centers and schools in the state are forging a partnership to increase research, clinical testing of new treatments and the training of doctors studying diseases among the poor.
The so-called Louisiana Clinical and Translational Science Center, or LaCaTS, will use a $20 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to let the entities involved pool their expertise and know-how to produce new treatments and to get them to the public sooner.
The entities involved include LSU's public hospital in New Orleans, Tulane University's Heart and Vascular Institute, Xavier University and Children's Hospital, among others.
Officials said they hope to speed up the process to get new drugs and treatments approved. In addition, trials for new drugs or treatments could be completed more quickly thanks to access to a broader pool of interested patients. Officials also said preventive measures will be an important part of the program, including trying to discover triggers for chronic conditions.
These are obviously important goals that can significantly improve public health in the state in the long run. The grant, which will help hire researchers, is also an economic shot in the arm for medical research, an area the state is seeking to expand.
That makes this a win-win for all Louisianians.
Daily Star, Hammond, La., on Gov. Jindal:
Gov. Bobby Jindal's special treatment for certain members of his cabinet is an example of the "unfair playing field" and "rigged system" that Massachusetts Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren denounced at the Democratic National Convention.
Warren truthfully said that Americans do not begrudge hard-working citizens who use their resources to get ahead, seize the opportunities, make money and enjoy the fruits of their labor and resourcefulness. Indeed, we tend to admire the wealthy and glamorous. However, we also admire fairness and we value equal opportunity. A great premise of this nation, established from its earliest days, is that "all men are created equal...."
There's no denying that here in Louisiana, we accepted and allowed corruption in politics, government and business for centuries. Corruption was our way of life, until we began to realize that the rest of the nation had left us far behind in education, economics and so many aspects of life that are positive.
When Jindal sought the governor's chair, he pledged to end Louisiana's reputation for unfair politics and special treatment. But in the years that followed, Jindal has not made the playing field fair. We have seen his top staffers sidestep laws, big salaries go to his favorites while public services have been cut into the bone, and the governor himself sidestep transparency in government.
Did his pledge prove too big a challenge? As he faced Louisiana's many challenges, did ethics become a lesser priority? Rubbing shoulders with the big shots, did Jindal allow power and the prospects of national politics to go to his head?
Jindal, like the rest of us, is not perfect, and we cannot expect him to be. However, we would like for him to remember his promise and practice what he preached.
The Advocate, Baton Rouge, La., on West Nile virus:
The good news is that health officials don't expect a big increase in reported cases of the West Nile virus as a result of Hurricane Isaac's path through Louisiana.
The fear of such increases is understandable, since more south Louisiana residents have been outdoors in recent days cleaning up from the storm. That has made them more vulnerable to bites from the mosquitoes that carry the virus. The storm has also left large amounts of standing water in its wake, creating new breeding grounds for mosquitoes.
But heavy storms can also wash out mosquito breeding grounds and help break the cycle of virus transmission between birds and mosquitoes. Ultimately, Isaac could have little or no effect on West Nile cases.
That's good news in a season when the number of West Nile virus cases is up nationally and in Louisiana from last year. The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals has identified 92 cases of West Nile virus in Louisiana this year, and more than half of those cases have been a more serious form of the virus that can cause brain damage and death.
We suggest that residents do what they can to eliminate standing water around their homes, including any new collections of water from Isaac. We also urge residents to apply insect repellent before tackling hurricane cleanup chores around their homes.
Health officials said they expected West Nile virus activity to peak in August, but continue through October. Residents can do their part to keep West Nile in check by taking the recommended precautions.