Editor’s note: This is the fifth article in a series on the Meigs County Health Department’s 2020 annual report.
POMEROY — Several of the programs and services at the Meigs County Health Department area geared toward healthier communities and families, including the Creating Healthy Communities Program, WIC and the Maternal and Child Health Program.
Creating Healthy Communities
The Creating Health Communities program, under the direction of Project Director Sara Hill, is committed to preventing and reducing chronic disease. The program focuses on improving access to healthy foods, increasing opportunities to physical activity and assuring tobacco-free living where people live, work and play.
Numerous projects and events were part of the program in 2020, including:
ADA compliant sidewalks and paths were installed at the Syracuse Municipal Park to improve safer paths for physical activity in the village. Upgrades were also completed to the batting cage at the park, with a concrete surface poured.
The program continued support and awareness for the Complete Streets Policy adoption in Pomeroy. A Complete Streets Policy will provide future inclusion of all modes of transportation, including active and vehicular.
Camp Kiashuta received outdoor exercise equipment for the camp members and visitors to utilize for exercise purposes. Equipment can also be used by community members.
A food service guideline policy was adopted by the Syracuse Youth League in which they agreed to sell healthy food options at the concession stand, including those which are fresher, low or zero calorie, and sodium and sugar conscious.
Golden Harvest Food Pantry transitioned to a Client Choice-based pantry to accommodate clients based on dietary needs and wants.
The PRx Program included seven Type-2 Diabetes patients who received vouchers redeemable for fresh produce. The idea of the pilot program was to show how health conditions can improve if diet is improved.
Director Hill took part in wellness meetings at Eastern Local and Carleton Schools, and presented a heart health program at Carleton School.
WIC (Women, Infants and Children) Program
The WIC program, with Director Sherry Eagle, clerk Kimberly Casci, health professional Jenna Petry, breastfeeding peer helper Amber Evans and contractor Ellen Mingus, serves income eligible pregnant, breastfeeding and postpartum women, infants and children up to age five.
An average of 423 income eligible participants were served as of close-out reporting for the 2020 fiscal year. Among those served were 48 pregnant women, 13 exclusively breastfeeding women, 4 partially breastfeeding women, 29 post-partum women, 17 exclusively breastfed infants, six partially breastfed infants, 112 other infants age 0 to 12 months, 194 children ages 1-5. Fifty participants were also provided with four $5 vouchers in conjunction with the regular benefits to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables at any Ohio Farmers Market.
Maternal & Child Health Program
Juli Simpson is the director of the MCHP at the Meigs County Health Department. The program is an organized effort to eliminate health disparities, improve birth outcomes, and improve the health status of women, infants and children in Ohio.
Among the programs which fall under MCHP are health screenings for women in the work place and the Cribs for Kids Program.
In early 2020, the MCHP staff was able to provide health screenings and health education to female employees working at a local bank and all branches. Among the education and screenings provided were referrals to low or no cost services, education on screenings and age appropriate care and the implementation of MicroMarkets for healthy low-cost snack items during breaks.
While COVID-19 impacted other in-person events, “resource bags” were created for four other local businesses to distribute to female employees.
Cribs for Kids provided safe sleep education and cribs to 20 Meigs County families who did not have a safe crib for their new baby. Since the program began in March 2015, more than 100 local families have been provided with safe sleep education and safe cribs.
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Sarah Hawley is the managing editor of The Daily Sentinel.