COVID taught a lot of people a lot of things like: how much toilet paper does one family need to survive a month, hand washing is uber important and that people panic when fueled by fear on social media.
But deeper than that, COVID pushed people to reflect both in how they lived their personal lives and how their lives impact others around them. COVID taught people to examine the way we interact with others and how we can do better.
The same lessons individuals learned during COVID are the same lessons many businesses, community groups, and even public health organizations faced as well. This is true even here, for the Webster County Health Unit.
“What we know is that we’ve been dealing with COVID for almost two years, there are certain things in someone’s life that lead to them having poorer outcomes from having COVID. ” shared Scott Allen Administrator at the WCHU. “We know that people who are vaccinated have better outcomes if they get covid. We know that people who watch their health by their diet, control their diabetes, make sure their blood pressure is under control…all those things help us have better outcomes if we have COVID.”
“What people realized (during COVID) is that we have a really nice office here and we provide a great array of services here which is great if you live in Marshfield…it’s not so great if you live in areas, especially with gas being so high, not local to the WCHU,” reflect Allen. “What we decided as an organization, and with our board, was what we really needed to do if we are going to address health disparities, is to take public health to the people.”
“We are constantly getting phone calls of people calling and asking if we can come to their home because of their mobility issues and they aren’t able to make it in for lack of a ride up here,” shared Lisa Tindall, Public Health Nurse and Nurse Supervisor at the Webster County Health Unit.
After spending countless hours researching and planning, the Webster County Health Unit is excited to offer a new public health mobile unit.
“We will be taking the general health department services: vaccines, testing, nurse consultations, screenings and combining it with our health education team. When the unit goes out we will have a nurse and a health educator,” explained Allen.
“A mobile health unit means that we can go out and offer the same services that we would offer here (at the health unit) and we can just reach more people,” commented Lindall.
The mobile unit looks like a van you might find at a campground, however sporting . It is fully equipped with a bathroom, sink, cook stove, microwave, refrigerator, comfortable seating, and of course heat and air. “We won’t be using the toilet area-it will be just for storage, but we are pretty proud of the unit,” explained Allen. When designing the unit, the staff spent time making sure they built it to fit their needs.
Even cooler than the inside of the unit is the outside; the outside of the unit features the public health symbol as well as an image of “patients” receiving services. The “patients'' are Olive and Raemie, the daughters of Lisa Tindall, one of the public health nurses at the WCHU. “It is very exciting for them. It was just kind of an idea that was thrown out there,” smiled Tindall.
The mobile unit will visit six different areas in the county: Rader, Elkland, Niangua, Seymour, Diggins and Rogersville. The current plan puts the mobile unit in each town twice a month with the same staff serving each town. “We really want to work with the communities we are serving,” Allen added.
The Webster County Health Unit is excited for their new mobile service and believes it will make a great addition to the other mobile units currently serving Webster County. “The Jordan Valley unit focuses primarily on providing health care, the Fordland unit will focus primarily on dental care, and our unit will focus predominantly on preventative health,” shared Allen with excitement. “We could all be at the same event at the same time and not be duplicating services.”
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