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Health agencies promote public health day

Public Health Week is promoted during the first week in April across the country and Thursday, the city and county health departments hosted a public health day to promote the importance of getting a return on the investment of preventative care.

Maxine Lewis, health educator for the Lawrence County Health Department, said spending a little money on preventative health services now can save big money in the long run.

The day was also about letting the public know the health departments provide those preventative services, more than just immunizations.

“Just a better awareness of the services that are offered and that public health is vital to their daily lives,” Lewis said.

While both the city and the county health departments offer immunizations for children and adults, the agencies’ umbrellas cover a wide range of services, from environmental services like food service inspections and vegetation control, to family planning and vision and hearing clinics. Many of the services are offered free to the community or at a low cost.

Laura Brown, health commissioner for the city health department, said the mission of the agency is to make a difference in the health of the community.

“Now that costs are going up, people need some alternatives to go to,” Brown said.

Brown also said education plays a big part in the health departments’ role in the community.

“We do a lot of education,” Brown said. “Education is the key.”

To recognize the efforts of the health departments, Ironton Mayor Rich Blankenship declared April 4 as Public Health Day and presented a plaque to the agencies.

“I think it shows there is cooperation between the two agencies to promote good health for our city and the county,” Blankenship said. “We appreciate both their efforts in promoting a healthy lifestyle.”

Brown said the public health day was the first in several years, but she hopes to continue with the event annually.

“It’s just a nice way of letting the community know we are here,” she said.

Upcoming for the health departments are two free clinics.

A hearing clinic will be from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. on April 22 and a vision clinic will be at the same time on April 25.

The clinics are a joint effort between the city and county health departments so patients can call either the city at 532-2172 or the county at 532-3962 for appointments.