OREGON COUNTY -- Celebrating Public Health Month has significance this year, not only to the public health workers and care providers throughout the state, but also to 5.6 million residents 5.6 million residents of Missouri.
"In the past many residents did not understand public health's role in their daily lives. However, its importance gained notable attention during the past six months as it became a front-line defense in the battle against bioterrorism," said Oregon County Health Administrator Shiela Russell.
"Public health had a significant impact during the past 100 years in helping residents live longer and healthier lives, often working behind the scenes," said Ron Cates, interim director for the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services. "The recent anthrax situation placed public health in a leadership role, with the nation looking to us for answers, action and reassurance."
Several citizens of Oregon County established the Oregon County Health Department in June 1949. The health department provides services for the whole county with offices in Alton and Thayer. The Alton office is open daily and the Thayer office is open on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. The health department is governed by an elected board of trustees. Serving as trustees at this time are: Boyd Clark, John Barton, Keith Combs, Dee Dee Gum and Betty Garrison.
She added that the local health department's mission is to protect the community by promoting healthy lifestyles and a safe environment through assessing needs, education and implementing services.
"Responding to terrorist events is just one example of public health's role in our daily lives," Russell said. "This activity is part of the duties we perform every day. The health department has always been responsible for detecting and controlling disease outbreaks within our county. We also provide many other valuable community services. Here are a few examples: *a sanitarian inspects all of the restaurants in the county; *educational programs are provided to the local senior citizen agencies; *school and headstart programs; *CPR/first aid classes provided; *well water test kits are available; *official birth and death certificates are available at the Thayer and Alton offices; *blood pressure screenings; *cholesterol screenings; *blood sugar screenings; *free HIV/AIDs and STD testing; * Women Infant and Children Program (WIC), which includes Arkansas and Missouri; *laboratory services for individuals with no insurance or underinsured; *FEMA Nutritional Program, Boost Plus nutritional supplement provided to qualifying resident; *family planning services with two clinics a month; *breast and cervical cancer programs provides mammograms to qualifying residents.
"These are only a few of the many services provided to our county. If you have any questions about our services or programs contact our offices at 417-778-7450 or 417-264-3114. We are celebrating Public Health Month this April to emphasize that public health touches each one of our lives every day. As stated by Ron Cates, 'To put it quite simply, public health makes life better.' The Oregon County Health Department would like to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of the residents of the county for allowing us to serve our community for the past 53 years and to remind them we are here to serve you," Russell said.