Public health in Ohio serves many purposes for which we can be thankful. Some of the achievements include vaccination campaigns, clean water and sanitation, motor vehicle safety, tobacco control and increased life expectancy.
It's likely we can expect our public health system to address the current threats to health, which would include the growing burden of chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and depression. Let's not forget risk factors such as obesity and exposure to violence.
Ohio has a decentralized public health governance structure. What does that mean? Local government retains authority over many decisions. While local health departments have a strong relationship with the Ohio Department of Health, Ohio's 88 counties are home to 125 local health departments. This local involvement reflects community priorities such as:
Restaurant and food service inspections.
Regulation of septic systems, private wells, manufactured homes, public swimming pools.
Regulation of solid waste and other "nuisances," such as garbage, tires, old appliances.
Vital statistics registry (birth and death certificates).
Education on topics such as hand washing, nutrition, tobacco, infant car seats, drunk driving.
Women, Infants, and Children nutrition program.
Help Me Grow home visiting program.
Bureau for Children with Medical Handicaps program.
Sexually transmitted disease screening.
Medical and dental clinics.
Strategies for prevention of chronic disease, injury and infant mortality.
The federal government picks up about 70 percent of Ohio's Department of Health budget, and about 30 percent comes from state sources. Fees such as those for death certificate cover a minimal piece of the budget. Could economies of scale be reached by having only one local health department in each county? Probably. We travel to see a movie or to go shopping; would we be as willing to travel for our health? It hasn't been tested yet.
The Mental Health and Recovery Services Board of Seneca, Sandusky and Wyandot Counties is committed to sharing information and resources for better mental health and the prevention of substance abuse.
If you would like more information, please call the Mental Health and Recovery Services Board of Seneca, Sandusky and Wyandot Counties at (419) 448-0640 between the hours of 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays. The board's hotline is available 24/7 at (800) 826-1306.