Though 2013 was a transition year for the Audrain County Health Department, it was also a very active one according to is Annual Report released last week.
Among the many services the ACHD provides includes blood pressure screening; immunizations; environmental public health services; home health, and hospice services; WIC; communicable disease surveillance and information; family planning services; maternal child health; foot clinics; breast feeding peer counseling; health planning; community action groups; disaster and emergency preparedness; and more.
“We were very pleased this year,” said ACHD Administrator Kevin Lowrance. “This was the first year under the mil tax, we moved the facility; there were a lot of things going on but we still managed to get a lot of work done.”
Lowrance said one of the notable items in the report was the importance of Vandalia residents taking full advantage of the services offered by the ACHD.
For example, the department came to the Lange Building last year and performed just one blood pressure screening. The report does show 91 screenings at Harbison-Walker.
The ACHD performed 1,112 during the year for an average of 93 screenings per month.
“Getting back into the Lange Building was a big move for us,” Lowrance said. “We wanted to get back in there and provide screenings…We want to be in Vandalia more but we need the people to support our services. When we send staff over to do immunizations, do blood pressure screenings, or any of the services we offer, it does take time. It costs money to put staff where it could be better served elsewhere.”
Lowrance anticipates program expansion for Vandalia in 2014.
“We want to be getting back into a full array of services in Vandalia,” he added.
In the area of communicable diseases, Audrain County went from no reported cases of gonorrhea in 2012 to four in 2013. There were 39 cases of chlamydia.
There was a total of 163 STD/STI clients, 513 tests, and 47 follow ups for positive tests results.
Other notable numbers include 104 cases of influenza A and B, two noted TB infections, two cases of chicken pox, two cases of Hepatitis C, two cases of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, as well as 20 mammal bites.
Lowrance said he’s been pleased with the resurgence of the foot clinic.
After the Diabetic and Elderly Foot Clinic ended in January 2013, Oxford Healthcare hosted 11 foot clinics at ACHD with 237 clients served.
In 2014, the ACHD will be holding the foot clinics on its own once again.
“We’re doing it ourselves now and we’re going to try and expand that, and offer something of that nature in Vandalia,” Lowrance added.
He said about 20 people are being served on average each month, causing the need for a secondary clinic to potentially open by the middle of the year..
The immunization program was really successful as it provided 1,943 total vaccinations or 162 immunizations per month.
“That’’s 54 immunizations every day, which is a huge amount,” Lowrance said.
The Women, Infants, & Children (WIC) program serviced 6,522 clients at ACHD and 725 in Vandalia during 2013. In regards to environmental public health, there were 149 total food inspections in the county with 110 in Mexico, 24 in Vandalia, and 15 in the remaining parts of the county.
“It’s very important we’re out there to make sure all food is safe and sanitary,” Lowrance said.
Lowrance added there was also 77 consultations.
The ACHD also works hard to relay important food recall information. There were 48 food related recalls or about three to four recalls per month.
The ACHD had 1,649 walk-in patients, serving an average of 137 clients per month.
As always, the ACHD is a local source for certified copies of birth and death certificates. The ACHD has provided 1,391 death certificates and 1,131 birth certificates.
A total of 109 pregnancy tests were made available in 2013.
Visit The Vandalia Leader’s website for a clickable link to the full report in the story or visit www.audraincountyhealth.org Copies of the report are also posted at Vandalia City Hall and all libraries in the county.