By Dadrea Duca
Every year, during the first full week of April, the American Public Health Association observes National Public Health Week as a time to recognize the contributions of public health and highlight issues that are important to improving our nation.
Public Health strives to shift the focus of our country’s health care system from sickness and disease, to wellness and prevention. Through effective health education, prevention and screening, we believe that we can reduce the effects and consequences of many health conditions and diseases by preventing their onset or tackling any symptoms or issues early on.
When compared to other high income countries, the United States ranks 34th in life expectancy. And we perform poorly on most measures of health, from infant mortality to obesity and chronic disease.
Public Health puts forth continued efforts to improve these statistics through detection and control of infectious disease, research for disease and injury prevention, and the promotion of healthy lifestyles.
APHA has begun documenting the return on investment from public health interventions to showcase whether these efforts have been successful. The ROI states that because of the Public Health push for collaborative efforts in HIV prevention, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now reports that from 1991 to 2006, more than 350,000 HIV infections were averted, and more than $125 billion in medical costs was saved.
Also, routine childhood immunizations save $9.9 million in direct health care costs, save 33,000 lives and prevent 14 million cases of disease. Not to mention, every year, newborn screening efforts test nearly every baby born in the U.S. for health conditions that — if detected early enough — can be treated in time to prevent developmental problems, disability and death. For example, testing the 4 million infants born every year for congenital hypothyroidism costs $5 per newborn and prevents 160 cases of intellectual disability.
Your local Sheridan County Public Health has joined the initiative of the American Public Health Association, Healthy Nation 2030. Its goal is to create the healthiest nation in one generation. We want to bring healthy to Sheridan County!
It is a common misconception that Public Health services are directed toward uninsured or low-income individuals and families. Truth is, Sheridan County Public Health offers its preventative services to all entities of the community. There are no restrictions to who can utilize our services.
We do have programs available to help make things more affordable for those who need assistance, we have the ability to bill most major insurance companies and we give businesses the opportunity to set up a monthly billing account for reoccurring employee services.
Visit our website at sheridancounty.com to see a full list of services that we can provide to you. A few of them include prenatal and infant education/support, breastfeeding help from certified lactation counselors, vaccines for children and adults, and STD testing and counseling.
Sheridan County Public Health is here for you. We want to help you build the foundation for a brighter, healthier tomorrow!
Dadrea Duca is a registered nurse with Sheridan County Public Health.