Who Calls The Shots?

From my Healthy Living column in Moncton’s Times & Transcript.

Who makes the important decisions when it comes to the health of the Moncton community? Have you ever questioned yourself?

Perhaps, for example, when Moncton High School was undergoing testing to determine whether or not it was safe to use the school building, you wondered who was consulted. Perhaps, scanning the pamphlets distributed at medical clinics and schools, you wondered how they got there. Or perhaps, these inquiries have never come to mind before reading this article.

The Public Health service in Eastern New Brunswick is responsible for delivering many health-related programs in the Moncton area. Thereare other regional  and subregional offices in central, southern, and northern New Brunswick.

The office in Eastern New Brunswick is led by Dr. Denis Allard, Regional Medical Officer of Health (RMOH), and supported by inspectors  who work for the department of Health, and by public health nurses and nutritionists  who are Vitalité Regional Health Authority employees.

The RMOH oversees activities in communicable disease control, environmental health issues, health promotion, disease prevention, and risk analysis (latter includes: risk assessment, risk management, and risk communication).

For communicable disease control, duties entail keeping track of cases of diseases reported by laboratories and doctors in the region, immunization, surveillance of  and response to outbreaks of transmissible diseases, monitoring of food safety, hygiene and sanitation in restaurants, daycares and other institutions  and  of the  quality of the environment as it impacts on health in the region, and regulation and enforcement of policies.

Inspection is one of the primary activities of the Public Health office, which provides for the inspection of food service establishments, food production plants, drinking and recreational water quality, and onsite sewage treatment and disposal systems.

The  Early Childhood Initiative is another public health programthis one delivered by the Public Health nurses and the nutritionists. The program provides prenatal screening and intervention care for mothers, post-natal screening and intervention for infants, and health clinics for preschool age children (3.5 years-old clinics). 

Imagine a community without public health services! Public health programs are relatively simple in nature, but they make quite a difference in the lives of the members of a community. In a column in the near future, I will be featuring a few public health programs in the Moncton area.

 

Originally published in the Times & Transcript on March 5th, 2011.

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