First week of April recognized as Public Health Week

Health departments can often fill a need in rural communities with no doctor's office.
Published: Apr. 4, 2023 at 10:50 PM EDT
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VALDOSTA, Ga. (WALB) - Many people have visited a local health department, but when is the last time you honored those that focus on protecting the health of entire populations?

The first week of April is recognized as Public Health Week across the nation.

“People just don’t truly understand, I think, just how much public health covers. There’s really very few aspects of your life where public health isn’t a part of it,” Kristin Patten, public information officer for the South Health District, said.

While a doctor treats people who are sick, public health employees focus on preventing people in their community from getting sick in the first place. And public health employees in Lowndes County say this week, they celebrate those efforts.

“Public Health Week celebrates all of the services that public health offers. It’s a time to recognize just all of the things that we do offer here at public health. So, we really love weeks like this where we get to look at public health with that shiny light and recognize the hard work of our staff,” Patten said.

From July 1st, 2022, to March 31, 2023, the Lowndes County Health Department served over 30,000 patients.

“We like to say that we see you from the time you’re born until death. We treat all ages no matter what service is needed through public health,” Patten said. “We have services starting from early hearing detection intervention for newborns, all the way to you can receive your death certificate here at the health department.”

Health departments also fill a need in rural communities with no doctor’s office.

Another focus for public health is wellness, and staying healthy through diet and exercise. So, thank a public health worker you see this week. You never know when you’ll need their services.