2015 Snapshot of Public Health: LaCloche Foothills Area
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Public Health: Putting the Community First
Reflecting on the past year of providing Public Health services, I am reminded of the many wonderful opportunities with which we are presented to help make meaningful contributions in the communities we serve.
To some, Public Health is a protector, helping to control the spread of infectious disease and monitoring the water to keep it safe for drinking and swimming. For others, Public Health is a promoter, supporting families to be the best they can be, providing education to help keep older adults from falling, and making it easier for everyone to eat well and be active wherever they live, learn, work, or play. To many, Public Health is a champion, providing information to people and bringing people together to build communities where everyone has the same opportunities for health.
Public Health may not always be visible, but it is always present to help prevent illness, promote health, and protect us all. Public Health pays big health dividends. The work of Public Health results in healthier, more productive individuals and communities—communities that can then invest in the things that really matter to health including jobs, education, housing, infrastructure, and more. The Sudbury & District Health Unit is proud to work in collaboration with so many dedicated individuals and groups in our communities so that together, we improve opportunities for health for all!
Dr. Penny Sutcliffe – Sudbury & District Medical Officer of Health and Chief Executive Officer
Healthier communities for all.
Working with our communities to promote and protect health and to prevent disease for everyone.
- Champion and lead equitable opportunities for health.
- Strengthen relationships.
- Strengthen evidence-informed public health practice.
- Support community actions promoting health equity.
- Foster organization-wide excellence in leadership and innovation.
In the 2015 Snapshot of Public Health for the LaCloche Foothills area, readers will find a brief overview of the Ontario public health system, including the local public health agency, the Sudbury & District Health Unit (SDHU). The 2015 Snapshot report includes highlights of public health activities in the LaCloche Foothills area during the 2015 calendar year.
This snapshot of public health activities shines a light on the SDHU’s public health work that is done in collaboration with the public, community agencies, and municipalities. It is hoped that the contents are helpful in sharing the local public health story and in informing people about how their public health dollars are being spent to promote and protect the health of everyone.
The SDHU is proud to work with and for the people who live, play, and work in the 1,143 square kilometres that makes up the LaCloche Foothills area. Home to approximately 9,400 people, the LaCloche Foothills area comprises approximately 7% of the SDHU land area and 5% of its total population. Residents of the LaCloche Foothills area speak predominately English, with approximately 84% of the population identifying English as their Mother Tongue. Though the LaCloche Foothills area experienced a 1.4% decrease in its population between 2006 and 2011, it continues to be a very vibrant place to call home (2011 Demographic Profile: Espanola, SDHU).
Public Health in Ontario
Public health works “upstream” to promote and protect health and prevent people from becoming sick. If we can imagine the health system as a continuum, the treatment services of hospitals would be at one end and public health would be at the other, working to keep people from needing hospitals and other health care services in the first place.
Like with fire, police, and education services, public health is a “public good”–publicly funded and always there for us. Public health works behind the scenes to promote healthy places (e.g. helping municipal councils make bylaws for healthier food options in recreational centres) and front and centre to protect our health (e.g. issuing boil water advisories when drinking water is unsafe).
In Ontario, there is a provincial network of 36 non-profit public health units, all responsible for delivering standard public health programs and services, and for upholding public health law. About 80% of a local public health unit’s budget is cost-shared between the municipalities and the province, with the provincial government contributing up to three quarters of that funding. The remaining 20% of a local public health unit’s budget is 100% provincially funded. The law specifies that municipal funding to public health is allocated on a per capita basis.
The 36 public health units, together with provincial ministries and agencies, and in partnership with primary care and laboratories, comprise the formal provincial public health system.
Your Local Public Health Unit—Our Structure
The SDHU is governed by an autonomous Board of Health. Sudbury & District Board of Health membership is determined by legislation and includes municipally elected representatives and citizen representatives from across the SDHU area. LaCloche Foothills is represented by one individual who has historically been a local mayor or councillor.
The SDHU works hard to meet the needs of the diverse population we serve and to meet our legislative requirements. To do this, the SDHU is organized into five divisions each reporting to the Medical Officer of Health.
2015 Sudbury & District Health Unit Board of Health Member:
Council of the Town of Espanola, the Municipal Councils of the townships of Baldwin and Sables- Spanish Rivers and the Municipal Council of The Corporation of the Township of Nairn & Hyman
Public Health Activities in LaCloche Foothills in 2016
The SDHU actively supports well-being in LaCloche Foothills by providing services to protect and to promote health. The following is a snapshot of these LaCloche Foothills public health activities that occurred in 2015. Together, they paint a picture of the variety and volume of local public health work.
The SDHU delivers a number of services designed to protect the health of its communities. These services include for example, immunizations, health hazard investigations, sexual health services, food safety, and safe water initiatives. The snapshots in the section below highlight the health protection services provided by the SDHU to LaCloche Foothills in 2015.
Control of Infectious Diseases and Infection Control
- 11 cold chain visits completed and provision of publicly funded vaccines to all health care providers in Espanola and surrounding areas
- Provision of school immunizations:
- hepatitis B, meningococcal, and human papillomavirus vaccines administered at school clinics at the six area elementary schools in May, June, September, and December
- Adacel® vaccine (teenage booster) offered at the one area secondary school in February
- 250 immunizations administered at the Espanola district office location
- 43 cases of reportable diseases investigated, including respiratory, blood-borne, invasive group A streptococcus, enteric, and sexually transmitted infections
- participation on hospital and nursing home infection control committees
- 45 child care, long-term care facility, and personal service settings inspected
- 23 consultations completed or inquiries addressed
Sexual Health Program
- 364 client visits at Espanola office conducted
- 29 clients seen at the Espanola High School
- 159 clients seen by a Sexual Health Clinic physician at the Espanola Office
- 746 elementary school children participated in the dental screening program
- 59 children referred to a family dentist for urgent care
- 18 families of referred children offered preventive care
Healthy Babies Healthy Children Program
- 138 home visits conducted
- 12 new families followed
- 13 referrals to community services completed
Smoke-Free Ontario Act Enforcement
- 28 youth access inspections conducted
- 14 display and promotion inspections conducted
- 3 compliance inspections/checks of schools conducted
- 1 sale/supply charge (selling tobacco to a person under 19 years of age) issued
Did you know?
The SDHU employs a number of public health professionals to carry out its mission and public health mandated programs. These include but are not limited to public health physicians (Medical Officer and Associate Medical Officer of Health), public health nurses, public health inspectors, dental educators and hygienists, registered dietitians, epidemiologists, and planners. We also employ a number of technical and support staff who assist in the operational functions of the organization and the work we do in the various communities throughout LaCloche Foothills.
- 143 inspections of food premises completed
- 2 food complaints addressed
- 21 food recalls with follow-up response completed
- 31 special event food permits issued
- 34 consultations completed or inquiries addressed
Vector Borne Diseases, Rabies, and Lyme Disease
- 18 mosquito traps set
- 1,198 mosquitoes trapped
- 30 pools tested for Eastern Equine Encephalitis or West Nile virus
- 8 animal exposures to rabies investigated
- 1 tick submitted for testing
Part 8 Land Control (On-Site Sewage System under Ontario Building Code)
- 79 inspections undertaken
- 29 sewage system permits processed
- 8 renovation applications processed
- 2 private sewage complaints addressed
- 13 consultations completed or inquiries addressed
- 3 health hazard complaints investigated (may include: mould, insects/cockroaches/birds, housing complaints, rodents/vermin, sewage backup spills, heating complaints, garbage and waste, miscellaneous complaints)
- 18 consultations completed or inquiries addressed
Did you know?
In order to provide quality public health services within the LaCloche Foothills area, the SDHU has aligned its highly skilled and trained staff with the communities’ unique needs. The SDHU has an office in Espanola from which four public health nurses, one public health inspector, one family home visitor, and one office assistant support Health Unit programming for the residents of the LaCloche Foothills area. Other services are provided to LaCloche Foothills area residents where and when needed by SDHU main office staff and include, for example, dental health services, and support for emergency preparedness and response.
- Children’s Water Festival held in Espanola in 2015
- 229 students participated
- rotated every 3 to 4 years among SDHU district office locations
- volunteers, including local professionals and community partners, are involved
- 3 heat warnings issued
- 1 water-related complaint received and investigated
- 4 boil water advisories/orders issued
- 117 adverse drinking water reports investigated
- 1 health information notice (sodium) issued
- 2 blue-green algae advisories issued
- 34 bacteriological samples taken
- 32 consultations completed or inquiries addressed
Small Drinking Water Systems
- 43 small drinking water systems (SDWS) inspected
- 20 SDWS risk assessments completed
- 20 SDWS directives completed
- 3 consultations completed or inquiries addressed
- 2 beaches inspected weekly resulting in a total of 16 beach inspections/85 bacteriological samples taken
- 5 public swimming pool and spa inspections; 6 bacteriological samples taken
- 1 beach closed (Clear Lake due to Eurasian milfoil)
- 1 beach advisory for blue-green algae issued
- presentations to lake stewardship committees provided upon request
Did you know?
Environmental Health staff are available to participate in tabletop emergency preparedness exercises upon request and often comment on plans or proposals that may have a public health impact.
Public health plays a key role in the promotion of health and prevention of chronic diseases and injuries. We do this through the delivery of a number of health promotion programs and services including healthy eating and healthy weights, falls prevention, substance misuse and tobacco use prevention, and child and reproductive health. This section includes LaCloche Foothills statistical and narrative information about a broad range of health promotion programs provided in 2015 by the SDHU. Many of these programs are delivered in collaboration and partnerships with many sectors and agencies within the community. These include, but are not limited to, individuals, families, community groups and seniors clubs, faith groups, organizations, health professionals, health centres, child care groups, businesses, social services, local municipal staff and council, school boards and their staff and administration, police, fire services, EMS, and provincial ministries.
Encouraging smoke-free lifestyles through the “Leave the Pack Behind” campaign
Smoking continues to be a challenge many residents in the LaCloche Foothills area struggle to overcome, and the SDHU is committed to supporting partners and residents in their efforts to quit and live smoke-free lives. The reasons people smoke are varied, and providing tailored, individual support is important to help quit successfully. Many of our allied health partners in the LaCloche Foothills area offer tailored smoking cessation services. The SDHU complemented these efforts by focusing its efforts on promoting and encouraging a smoke-free lifestyle through a variety of provincially coordinated campaigns. Leave the Pack Behind was a Government of Ontario-funded tobacco control initiative that offered young adults 18 to 29 years of age smoking and quitting information. These resources were distributed for the holiday weekends throughout the summer of 2015 (e.g. Victoria Day, Canada Day, Civic Holiday) to encourage cessation.
Promoting safe and active living – an injury prevention activity
Wearing a helmet is known to reduce and prevent head injuries when cycling. In the town of Massey, a concern was raised that some students from the Mennonite community who traveled to school via a highway route using bicycles or horse and buggy, either did not have helmets, or had helmets that were not fitted properly. Having built a strong relationship with members of the Mennonite community, staff from the SDHU collaborated with the Mennonite school to purchase 19 properly sized and culturally appropriate helmets for students from Grades 1 to 8. The school also welcomed two public health nurses to provide assistance with proper helmet fitting and to deliver a presentation on road safety. It is through these health equity-based initiatives that communities can be supported and empowered to reach their full health potential.
We all have a role to play… coming together to prevent the harms of substance misuse
The issue of drug and alcohol misuse is becoming increasingly prevalent in rural areas in Canada and has been a concern for residents and community partners in the LaCloche Foothills area. Substance misuse impacts all of us. Building on previous work, SDHU staff facilitated and supported the development of the community-based LaCloche Foothills Drug Strategy. Reducing the harms associated with misuse requires a community effort, as this issue cannot be solved by one individual, group, or agency alone. As an important first step to building community awareness, engagement and support, this Strategy was presented at the Espanola Healthy Communities Services Council in 2015. This was then followed by presentations to the Township of Sables-Spanish Rivers Council in May 2015, and to the Nairn & Hyman and Baldwin Councils in June 2015. The latter two presentations resulted in a unanimous endorsement of the strategy by both Councils.
Building a healthy and strong food system
Food and healthy eating continues to be a priority for residents in the LaCloche Foothills area. In partnership with the LaCloche Foothills Food Network*(LFFN), SDHU health promotion staff hosted a Fruit Trees, Bushes and Vines Workshop in March 2015 at the Queensway Pentecostal Church. Sixty-four community members gathered to hear a local master gardener share his expertise regarding planting preparation, selecting hardy varieties, pruning, pest control, and harvesting. Since 2010, the LFFN has focused on increasing awareness of, and opportunities for, community food programming. At their September 2015 meeting, the LaCloche Foothills Food Network was presented with the Healthy Eating and Older Adults from the LaCloche Foothills Area report. This report summarized results from community food discussions carried out with older adults from across the LaCloche Foothills area by SDHU staff. Key recommendations included exploring opportunities to improve the food environment through increased access to vegetables and fruit through retail and community-based programs.
*Disbanded in 2016
Starting them off right – parenting supports to help raise healthy and happy kids
Raising healthy families benefits everyone in our community. Parenting children can be very rewarding and it can also be challenging. All parents will encounter obstacles along their parenting journey, so SDHU staff continue to support parents in the LaCloche Foothills area through a variety of family health related programming. Triple P, which stands for Positive Parenting Program, continues to be a focus for the SDHU. Triple P aims to normalize parenting challenges and promotes good communication to raise healthy and resilient children. Through 2015, SDHU staff supported parents in a variety of ways including the promotion of Triple P in an article in the Around & About, delivered free to every household in Espanola and the surrounding areas, parents received educational tips and information about this exciting program. SDHU staff also continued to co-facilitate Triple P groups, offering an 8-week session in Espanola for families with children 0 to 12 years of age.
Building healthy eating habits through a universal vegetable and fruit program
The Northern Fruit & Vegetable Program (NFVP) is funded by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care and administered locally by staff from the SDHU. This program provides two servings of vegetables and fruit per week to elementary school children in the LaCloche Foothills area. It helps increase their consumption of weekly vegetables and fruit as well as increases their awareness to the benefits of having a diet rich in vegetables and fruit. The most recent program evaluation indicated that 96% of students thought that being given two servings of vegetables and fruit each week helped them achieve their recommended weekly intake.
Beyond the school walls, SDHU staff ensured success through the provision of resources to educate children and their parents about healthy eating habits to assist school communities build healthy habits in children. In the LaCloche Foothills area, a total of six schools participated in the NFVP reaching 959 students during the 2014/15 school year.
A Sampling of 2015 Health Promotion Programming by the Numbers
- Participated in 36 coalition or commitee meetings supporting a variety of topic areas with a number of community partners, including:
- LaCloche Area Service Providers Network
- Espanola & Area Safety Coalition
- Sudbury and Manitoulin Stay on your Feet Coalition
- LaCloche Foothills Food Network (disbanded in 2016)
- LaCloche Foothills Drug Strategy Committee
- Participated at 4 community events:
- inspected 26 car seats at the Early Years Screening Event
- hosted 2 Car Seat Inspection Clinics (BabyRIDE) inspecting 28 car seats
- encouraged breast cancer screening at a display at the Espanola Express Hockey Game fundraiser for breast cancer, reaching approximately 100 individuals
- Delivered 22 presentations to a variety of audiences across many public health program topics, including:
- 6 Triple P groups for parents with children 0 to 12 years, reaching 37 individuals
- 1 growth and development presentation, reaching 11 parents at the Steps and Stages program at Our Children Our Futures
- 1 car seat information session reaching 8 parents and conducting 5 car seat inspections
- 1 prenatal education workshop at the Sagamok Health Centre
- 1 Triple P teen group workshop supporting 3 individuals
- 3 Car Seat 101 training presentations to local police services staff
- Provided healthy living resources and supports on 18 occasions, including:
- distributed 20 posters promoting free transportation to and from mammogram appointments from district offices in recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness Month
- distributed 5 pairs of skates to 2 families as part of the Skate Exchange
- disseminated over 600 Medication Clean Out packages and 2,000 flyers to community partners
- disseminated 300 posters promoting the Triple P Teen program
- distributed 200 impaired driving information kits to the 3 local police detachments in the Espanola district for distribution during their RIDE checks
- provided 75 Falls Prevention Checklists to the Massey Medical Clinic
- Advocated for accessible access to recreation with the submission of 1 letter of support to the Town Council of Espanola and supported the Township of Sables-Spanish Rivers with a grant application to create a “natural playground.”
The Sudbury & District Health Unit is part of a provincial system of public health that works “upstream” to promote health and prevent disease. Locally, the SDHU provides a broad range of programs and services in collaboration with local community partners and community members throughout the Sudbury and Manitoulin districts and Greater Sudbury.
This report is the second Snapshot of Public Health developed for all leaders and citizens in the LaCloche Foothills area. It is intended to paint a picture of SDHU activities in the LaCloche Foothills area during the 2015 calendar year, and highlight the impressive variety and volume of programming delivered to meet local needs.
The Sudbury & District Health Unit is grateful and honoured to work with and for the people who live, play and work in the LaCloche Foothills area, including the many individuals and agencies that take a leadership role in bettering their communities. SDHU staff are passionate about their work and keen to work with partners and the community to protect, promote and champion health in the LaCloche Foothills area and beyond. Together, we can create opportunities for health for all.
Did you know?
Public health staff can be reached at any time from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday to Friday through the Espanola and main offices for routine business, and are available 24/7 for after-hours emergencies at 705.688.4366.
This item was last modified on December 23, 2019