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A healthy Bureau County

Published: Friday, Sept. 13, 2013 6:44 p.m. CST • Updated: Friday, Sept. 13, 2013 6:49 p.m. CST

PRINCETON – The outreach of the Bureau/Putnam County Health Department is extensive, according to Bureau County Board member Loretta Volker, who also serves on the county’s health board.

At Tuesday’s county board meeting, Volker said the health department will bring $1.2 million into the county this year by the way of grants and services. The work of the health department touches the lives of virtually every resident in the county at some time in their life, she said.

The primary outreaches of the health department are in the areas of public health nursing, environmental health, emergency response, health education, a dental clinic and the Community Partners Against Substance Abuse (CPASA) coalition.

Looking at accomplishments of those areas, Volker said public health nursing area gave more than 2,500 immunizations this past year, investigated more than 130 communicable disease reports, and provided more than 150 routine blood tests at low cost to the public. The health department also provided food, formula and nursing support for more than 700 women and children through its Women, Infant and Children program and helped more than 70 women receive free breast and cervical cancer screenings. Through this screening, cancer was found and treated in seven area women, Volker said.

Also, more than 150 infants were tested for lead poisoning, and school nursing care was provided for more than 500 students in the DePue School District, Volker said.

Looking at the area of environmental health, Volker said the health department conducted more than 400 food inspections this past year; inspected 180 wells, abandoned well sealings and septic systems; and inspected 11 tanning facilities. More than 75 people received or renewed their food sanitation licences through classes taught by the health department, Volker said.

In other outreaches, the health department manages a Medical Reserve Corp, which has more than 60 volunteers from the community, and also helps plan county-wide emergency response drills, Volker said. The health department has provided tobacco education for more than 1,000 people and provided more than 40 health presentations to schools and businesses.

Continuing, Volker said the health department’s dental clinic has provided free or low cost dental care for more than 1,500 people. The CPASA coalition is an active group, with an estimated 70 people attending monthly meetings, and has received regional and state recognition for its leadership in drug awareness programs and efforts, Volker said.

Following her presentation, Volker said the county gets “a real big bang for the buck” invested in the health department.

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