NWHU worked on making people healthier in 2013

News Release

2013 marks the end of the first year working on the new Northwestern Health Unit strategic plan. With a renewed focus on healthy eating and physical activity, the health unit is actively striving to prevent chronic disease – something that affects almost 80% of Ontarians over the age of 45.
A number of other highlights sum up a busy year.
Early in the year, an overdose prevention program was started to help opioid users through education and emergency use of the drug Naloxone. Naloxone can reverse the effects of an overdose from drugs like morphine and heroin.
In May and June a telephone survey of 1000 members of the public was conducted by an independent company on our behalf. The report on the survey is now available at www.nwhu.on.ca. Results include:
• 41% of respondents were aware of NWHU programs and services.
• About 72% of respondents had a positive perception of the NWHU.
• Just under a fifth (18%) of respondents had been to the NWHU website.
In September, 81 people attended the NWHU immunization conference for health care professionals. At the event, they learned more about the immunization schedule and vaccine management.
September also saw the launch of a new Safe Food Handlers curriculum that provides successful students with a certificate that is accepted across the province.
The Ministry of Health and Long-Term care introduced Bill 131, 2013, an Act to amend the Smoke Free Ontario Act. The proposed amendments will move forward years of advocacy work by our youth program on issues related to flavoured tobacco.
2013 was another successful year for our Healthy Smiles Ontario Mobile Dental Office and community clinics. In 8 communities (including 3 First Nations) we provided various dental services to eligible clients who had difficulty accessing dental care.
We look forward to the new year, and the opportunities it will bring. If you have a public health question or comment, email talkpublichealth@nwhu.on.ca.