By: Grant Goetcheus
On Feb. 3, 2015, the Findlay City Council unanimously approved the merging of the City of Findlay and Hancock County health departments. A month later, on March 2, the two combined to form the Hancock County Public Health (HPH).
Since then, the HPH has had success in providing care for the residents of Hancock County. Each year, the HPH provides an annual report of what they did over the year, their budget and their staffing structure.
The Hancock County Board of Health is an independent governing body operating under Ohio Revised Code 3709 and Ohio Administrative Code 3701. Board of Health members are appointed by the 29 members of the Hancock County District Advisory Council. The Board of Health in turn appoints the Health Commissioner.
The Hancock County Board of Health report states their purpose is to “define the organization’s target populations to be served; evaluate the accomplishments of the programs planned and implemented; appoint the executive officer (Health Commissioner); take a lead in the development of financial resources; and represent the public’s interest in health matters.”
In the report, Karim Baroudi, health commissioner, explains some of the accomplishments made by HPH this year.
“Your public health professionals work hard every day with input from partners and the community to: PREVENT disease, PROMOTE health, and PROTECT you,” stated Baroudi. “Last year, this included: Leading the charge on reducing adult and child obesity, increasing health prevention in schools, improving on school-aged kids’ immunization clinics, raising awareness about mosquito-borne diseases, ensuring the safety of your food and water, updating emergency plans, mitigating the effects of flooding, working with first responders and law enforcement battling the opiate epidemic and many more you will find in the pages of this report.”
According to the report this year, HPH decided they should tackle the issue of obesity. As a result, the organization has been working with Lincoln Elementary, Great Scot on Broad Avenue, the OSU Extension, Findlay Police Department, Hancock County Sheriff’s Office, Hancock County ADAMHS Board, Century Health, Blanchard Valley Hospital, Hanco EMS and the University of Findlay.
The report says that HPH also collected data from the public and found that 72% of parents say they would support increased physical education/recess time. In addition, they also found that 64% of parents support more classroom education on nutrition.
Another big problem that Hancock County faces is substance abuse. In 2017, Hancock County had 24 accidental overdose deaths. There are currently eight deaths that are still waiting for final determination by the Coroner’s Office.
According to the Courier, HPH received additional grants and $14,250 to expand the Naloxone distribution program. This program coincides with the City of Findlay’s Quick Response team (QRT), which aids victims of opiate overdoses. HPH also helps with the QRT.
Not only does HPH look at what is currently happening, they are looking towards the future. One thing that they are looking at is communicable diseases on the rise. According to HPH, Hepatitis A is on the rise. The number of cases in Hancock County has nearly tripled from the reported four cases in 2016. HPH received 15 confirmed Hepatitis A reports in 2017, 10 of which were co-infected with Hepatitis C. Hepatitis C is still number two in the top five communicable diseases reported in Hancock County. Chlamydia remains number one since 2016, and Hepatitis A made the list at number five. The HPH report also shows the top diseases reported in the whole state of Ohio. Chlamydia infection is number one, Gonococcal infection is second and Hepatitis C is third.
To read the entire HPH report visit http://www.co.hancock.oh.us/government-services/board-of-health.