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Local Student Shares Speech and Health Message with Board of Health

Aidan Hussey may be the youngest person the local Health Unit has ever tried to recruit.

Hussey, a Grade 6 student at Brighton Public School, presented his speech “Why You Should Choose to Say No to Smoking,” at the May 15 meeting of the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit. In his presentation, the articulate Hussey detailed all the reasons why young people should resist the peer pressure to begin smoking and spoke about the health hazards caused by the habit.

“One of the most common reasons kids start to smoke is from peer pressure,” Aidan said. “It’s tough to say no because they’re your friends, but at the same time you don’t want to jeopardize your chance at a longer life.”

After his presentation, Hussey answered all the questions posed to him by the Board of Health members with diplomacy and poise.  But when the Board congratulated him on his speech and urged him to consider a career in public health in the future, Hussey responded with the honesty of someone his age.

“Thank you but I want to be a professional golfer,” he said.

MOH Updates

Dr. Noseworthy provided the Board with the following updates:

Access to Recreation:

Significant work has been done in the HKPR area to advocate for policies, funding and approaches needed to increase access to recreation opportunities. Research has shown that there are numerous social and economic benefits of investing in access to recreation as recreation has physical health benefits, psychosocial benefits, and can help to break the cycle of poverty.

“It is a wise investment,” Dr. Noseworthy said.

In Northumberland County, the Health Unit has been a part of the Northumberland Sports Council, a partnership that has provided support and resources to Northumberland residents. In the City of Kawartha Lakes, the JoinInCKL committee has been working on improving access to recreation opportunities for residents of all ages and abilities for the past five years. The group has a website, a toolkit to help organizations develop policies, and helps provide networking opportunities for the sport and recreation community. The group is currently working with partners to have discussions about developing a sport and recreation council for CKL. In Haliburton County, a number of smaller initiatives have taken place over the past 10 years to increase physical activity and promote recreation to all residents.

Amendments to Ontario Regulation 645 under the Immunization of School Pupils Act (ISPA):

The Health Unit has sent letters to all boards of education and private schools in its area to advise of the changes to the above regulation. Under the changes, school-age children will now be required to provide proof of immunization for meningococcal disease, pertussis and varicella (varicella immunization is only required for children born in 2010 or later), as well as the current proof of immunization required for tetanus, diphtheria, poliomyelitis, measles, mumps and rubella. The amendments are effective July 1, 2014.

To help ensure parents and area school children are prepared for the changes, the Health Unit will be holding “catch-up” immunization clinics this summer for local students who require the vaccine that protects against meningococcal disease.

Skin Cancer Prevention Act

As of May 1, 2014, youth under the age of 18 years are no longer allowed to use tanning beds in Ontario. The act requires tanning bed operators to post signs in their business about this restriction and warn of the dangers associated with tanning bed use. Operators will be required to ask for proof of age identification and will not be allowed to promote tanning services to anyone under the age of 18 years. Public health units will be enforcing the new legislation and all public health inspectors with the HKPR District Health Unit will be monitoring compliance with the legislation.

Reports

A report on the 2013-2014 Highlights of the Chief Nursing Officer Initiative was presented by Fiona Kelly, the HKPR’s Chief Nursing Officer and Director of Professional Practice and Accountability and Family Health. Together with Anne-Marie Cyr, Manager of Professional Practice and Accountability, Kelly provided an overview of the role and its linkage to the Ontario Public Health Organizational Standards. In the first year, the role focussed on three key priorities: quality assurance/continuing quality improvement, nursing leadership and organizational effectiveness.

New Business

Approved, a motion to sign the Healthy Babies Healthy Children (HBHC) 2014 Service Agreement. Under the agreement, HKPR District Health Unit will receive more than $1million. The Healthy Babies Healthy Children (HBHC) Program is a free, confidential and voluntary program for pregnant women and families with children up to age six that provides mothers and families with advice and support at various stages to help give children the best start in life.

Operating Statement:

Approved, a motion to accept the draft operating statement for the HKPR District Health Unit. As of April 30, 2014, the Health Unit had expenditures of $5,722,013.

 

Correspondence

The Board received an agenda and updates for the upcoming alpha (Association of Local Public Health Agencies) Board of Health meeting. While at the conference, Dr. Noseworthy told the Board members she would follow-up on a resolution submitted by the HKPR Board of Health last year to ban the sale and distribution of all tobacco products in the Province by the year 2030.

Next Meeting

The next Board of Health meeting is scheduled for Thursday, June 19 at 9:30 am in the Health Unit’s Port Hope office.

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For media inquiries, contact:

Dr. Lynn Noseworthy, Medical Officer of Health, HKPR District Health Unit, (905) 885-9100 or

Chandra Tremblay, Manager, Communication Services, HKPR District Health Unit (905) 885-9100

 

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