ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Hundreds of south Georgia men could make potentially lifesaving visits to a doctor thanks to Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital, 100 Black Men, and the Cancer Coalition.
The Southwest Georgia Cancer Coalition received a $95,000 grant to help the unemployed and uninsured in need of a primary care physician. First, the group needed to identify what's keeping men in southwest Georgia from seeing a doctor and break that barrier.
As many as 400 men at the seventh annual Men's Conference had their blood pressure and cholesterol checked, but many of those men never followed up with a doctor. A group of men's health coaches is trying to change that.
"Many men aren't going to the doctor simply because they don't have employment and with employment is the health insurance," said Ken Williams, A Men's Health Coach.
Through a grant, these coaches were trained and then called and sent letters to the men, eventually encouraging about a third of them to see a doctor, in some cases saving a life.
"He did go for the initial screening, found out he had really high blood pressure, for that based on his age we encouraged him to get a colonoscopy and we assisted him in finding someone. He went to the colonoscopy, they found polyps," said Williams.
"We don't have a primary care provider we don't have anybody who we see regularly and on a consistent basis who can help track our conditions and help let us know how we're improving or where we need to modify our life styles and our behaviors," said Derrell Sabbs, Phoebe Putney Community Benefits Coordinator.
These coaches are changing that by putting these men in contact with a doctor they can see regularly, for little cost.
"There are federally funded health clinics locally that will see patients that don't have insurance. There is a minimum 15 dollar fee," said Helen Dixson, RN, Southwest Georgia Cancer Coalition.
It's got men asking, how they can get their wives and children involved and the cancer coalition looks at that as a grant well spent.
The theme to this year's Eighth Men's Health Conference will be "Stroke is no joke." That conference will be held from 8:00 to 1:30 June 20th at Phoebe HealthWorks. For more information you can contact the Southwest Cancer Coalition at (229)312-1700. For Albany Area Primary Health Care clinics you can call (229)888-6559 or check their website at www.aaphc.org.