Health Dept. provides vital services

Published 12:39 am Monday, April 13, 2009

You might know that the Adams County Health Department is a good place to get your child immunized, receive your seasonal flu shot and obtain your blood tests for a marriage license.

But you may not be aware of just how much your community depends on other, perhaps lesser-known services. These services protect the health of Adams County residents 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Even if you never walk through the door of the Adams County Health Department, the services we provide benefit everyone. From the water you drink to the restaurants where you eat and the daycare center your child attends, the health department is part of everyone’s life.

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Every day, health department environmentalists are responsible for testing eight suppliers of public water that serve 37,890 people and inspecting more than 194 food service facilities in Adams County. Without this first line of defense, thousands of people could be exposed to microbes, parasites and chemicals, resulting in catastrophic illness and even death.

While water, food and facility inspections help the county as a whole, there are plenty of other services that individual citizens may be eligible to receive. One such service is the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children, better known as WIC. WIC provides mothers, infants and children with nutritious food and education. Eligibility is based on federal guidelines.

The First Steps Early Intervention Program is also available to help the children of Adams County. Children from birth to 3 years of age who qualify for the program are screened and referred for therapeutic services in five developmental areas: physical, cognitive, social, communication and adaptive development.

The program currently serves 18 eligible children in this area who may benefit from appropriate intervention to prevent or reduce developmental delays.

Adams County Health Department also offers family planning services to prevent unintended pregnancy, nurses who provide infectious diseases control and, of course, immunizations for children and adults.

These are just a few of the services that the Adams County Health Department offers that go beyond blood tests and flu shots. The Adams County Health Department is located at 415 U.S. 61 North, or by phone at 601-445-4601.

“Chances are, even if you aren’t aware of it, you still depend on the services provided through your local health department to promote and protect the health of all Adams County residents,” County Coordinating Nurse Margaret Stutzman said. “We just want people to know that we’re here and we want to help them.”

Dr. Mary Currier is a Mississippi State Department of Health state epidemiologist.