2018 Public Health Annual Report used as a tool to educate community

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 15, 2019

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The Covington County Public Health Department released its 2018 Annual Report and district coordinator Corey Kirkland said it is used as a way to educate the public.

“One reason that we release this information is to show the type of commissions and services that we provide,” Kirkland said. “It also shows the amount of what we are doing with some services. It just gives the people a feeling of how we are serving the population. The data may vary a little bit from county to county, but it’s because some counties may have different programs.”

Kirkland said he has run into people numerous times that don’t know about the different services they offer.

“Even people that have lived in the community for 20 years will come up to me and say that they never knew that we did this or that program,” Kirkland said. “One program that stands out to me is tuberculosis. While it is not a huge problem in our state, it is something that we monitor and we do still treat a few individuals a year. A lot of people seem to think it is a thing of the past, and for the most part it is, but it is still something that we continuously monitor.”

According to the report, the Covington County Health Department administered 253 immunizations in Covington County.

“Immunizations for us have declined over the years,” Kirkland said. “A lot of children now just go to their pediatrician. Another thing parents do now is take their kids to CVS or Wal-Mart for a vaccination. So, we don’t provide as much as we used to, but we still provide them.”

Another number that pops out on the report is the number of investigated reports of animal bites in Covington County at 96.

“I have only been with Covington County for about a year now,” Kirkland said. “So, I am not completely aware of the rate of exposures for animal bites, but I think that it is an average number. It is going to go up and down from year to year. We certainly do our best to educate owners about the importance of getting the rabies vaccine.”

Some other services that the report mentions are:

  • The Bureau of Clinical Laboratories provides quality laboratory results for the following programs: maternity, family planning, child health, STD, tuberculosis control, diabetes, HIV/AIDS, newborn screening and environmental services.
  • Alabama’s Children’s Health Insurance Program increases access to care for eligible, uninsured children aged birth through 18, and served 1,516 Covington County children in the month of Sept. 2018.
  • Licensed public health social workers provide case management/care coordination for family planning, newborn-screening disorders, elevated lead levels, home health and other services.
  • Issued 218 new or repair permits to regulate and permit onsite sewage disposal systems and oversee treatment and disposal of septage and other permitted wastes.
  • Provided confidential testing, treatment, counseling, partner referral, and epidemiologic investigations for most sexually transmitted diseases in 203 support nurse visits.
  • Offers a tobacco Quitline free to Alabama residents. Free call, free coaching, and free nicotine patches (if medically eligible and in coaching) to help tobacco users quit. Call 1-800-QUIT NOW or go to Quitnowalabama.com.
  • Provides breast and cervical cancer screening to uninsured and underinsured women age 40-64. The Covington County Health Department served 78 women in 2018.
  • Newborn screening detects genetic or metabolic conditions, thereby reducing morbidity, premature death, intellectual and other developmental disability through early detection and follow-up.
  • Regulates the possession, use and disposal of radioactive materials and equipment, and administers a radon and naturally occurring radioactive materials program.
  • Responds to storms, floods, disease outbreaks, nuclear power plant accidents, and other emergencies. Employees provide training, coordination, and response to disasters and partner with local first responders for health, medical, and social services.
  • Assists rural and medically underserved areas by working with health care providers and organizations to prepare grants and provide workforce development.
  • Protects patients/ residents of health care facilities from abuse and neglect. Works to ensure facilities comply with state and federal standards. Requires corrective action when surveys find facilities are noncompliant. Assures that emergency medical services meet or exceed established standards.
  • Provided 2,184 home care visits that include skilled nursing, physical therapy, medical social work and personal care services through Medicare-certified home health agencies.
  • Issued 5,811 certified copies of vital records in Andalusia on a while-you-wait basis regardless of where in the state the event occurred.
  • Conducted 447 inspections of restaurants, schools, and other food service and lodging establishments including child care centers to ensure standards in environmental health are maintained.
  • WIC provides nutrition assessment, education, and nutritious foods at no cost to a monthly average of 942 limited income pregnant, breastfeeding and postpartum women, infants and children up to age five at nutritional risk in Covington County and a monthly average of 120,600 statewide.
  • Confidential and professional family planning services were provided to Covington County residents. A wide range of services is available regardless of income to prevent unintended pregnancies through education and contraceptive services.