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Professor Pat Troop, chief executive of the Health Protection Agency, welcomed the publication of the government's Public Health White Paper.
The White Paper puts public health firmly on the map, said Troop. It highlights the major public health challenges facing the nation and proposes innovative, deliverable solutions.
We are particularly pleased to see such significant progress toward a total ban on smoking in public places, something we recommended in our own submission to the Department of Health during the consultation period.
We are also delighted that the government has made a clear commitment to achieving improvements in the nation's sexual health, as sexually transmitted infections (STIs) remain a largely avoidable threat to people's health and fertility. For example, the extension of the Chlamydia screening program throughout the whole of England by 2007 will make a significant impact on our ability to reduce the effects of an infection which can have such devastating effects on women's fertility.
The introduction of referral to GUM clinics within 48 hours as well as closely targeted campaigns on STIs will also be critical to reducing the spread of infection. Next week we will be publishing our annual report on HIV and the latest statistics on sexually transmitted infections.
"We also welcome the focus on children, one of our own key priorities, as they are especially affected by health inequalities and are among the most susceptible to disease and environmental hazards.
Troop added, We consider that the combination of better information combined with practical health promotion will allow people to make informed choices as to how best to protect the health of themselves and their families.
Source: Health Protection Agency