New IDPH director shares plans for Illinois as Pritzker gives update Title X

(The Center Square) ā€“ Introducing the new director of the Illinois Department of Public Health, the Pritzker administration also provided updates on a couple of health policy issues.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced additional funding for the state’s Title X program, which aims to expand reproductive health care in Illinois.

“The Illinois Department of Public Health is also expanding our Illinois Family Planning Program with an additional $2 million in grants for providers offering family planning services,” Pritzker said. “This brings the total Title X budget to over $13 million.”

The funding will go to the statewide program that provides funding to 38 agencies with 81 clinic sites, which include abortion providers, health departments, and hospital-based clinics.

Illinois has among the least restrictions on abortion in the nation. Pritzker said he would keep it that way for as long as he is in office.

“As long as I am governor of Illinois, we will continue to protect and support reproductive health providers and safeguard reproductive freedoms,” Pritzker said.

Pritzker also introduced Dr. Sameer Vohra as the state’s new IDPH director.

Vohra becomes the department’s 20th director after replacing Dr. Ngozi Ezike, who stepped down from her role earlier this year.

Vohra was asked about the emergency declaration for the monkeypox virus. He said it allows the state to get what it needs.

“We know that at the moment, monkeypox is still a low risk to the public,” Vohra said. “The disaster declaration allows us to do many things like making sure we have additional support to prioritize and get vaccines out and expedite procurement that allows us to transport vaccines across the state.”

Vohra also said his team at IDPH has been working with the federal government to obtain the things they need.

“Our team is working with our federal government to get as much vaccine that can be allotted,” Vohra said. “Our work at the moment is making sure we transport that vaccine to the places that need it so we can contain and mitigate that spread.”

According to the governor’s office, Illinois has reported 520 cases of confirmed or presumptive monkeypox, the third most in the country. The state has more than 7,000 doses of vaccine, with 13,000 additional doses from the federal government expected soon.

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