Thomas County Health Department offers county residents a wide array of amenities, including two new services which were recently introduced. Residents have long been familiar with programs like immunizations, Child Health, Infectious Disease, Women’s Health, Environmental Health and Nutrition Services/WIC. Now the health department, located at Hancock Human Services Center, 484 Smith Avenue, Thomasville, also provides a Travel Vaccine Clinic. Prior to the establishment of the clinic in September, local individuals going abroad who needed protection against diseases such as malaria, typhoid, Japanese Encephalitis and more had to go to Tallahassee or Valdosta for consultations and vaccines. Locating the new travel clinic in the Thomasville Health Department is more convenient and efficient for local patients.
The health department has also set up a colonoscopy clinic for the convenience of patients. The newly established clinic is currently seeing patients, who need only call for an appointment.
Immunizations is a very active program for the health department. During flu season, staff schedule school-based flu clinics at local schools. The staff also works with businesses to set up clinics to immunize their employees. Back-to-school time is another busy time, as the health department works with parents to ensure students are up-to-date on their state-mandated vaccinations.
The Child Health Program includes a variety of programs and services: Children 1st, which facilitates early identification of at-risk children and links them with early intervention services and other resources; Babies Can’t Wait Early Intervention, a coordinated system of services for infants and toddlers with special needs birth to three and their families; and Children’s Medical Services, a community-based, coordinated, family-focused, culturally appropriate, comprehensive system of care for children with chronic medical conditions from birth to 21 years old who live in low-income households.
The infectious Disease Program includes the Tuberculosis Control Program and HIV/AIDS counseling, testing and referral.
Family Planning, Perinatal Case Management, Pregnancy Related Services and Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening fall under the umbrella of Women’s Health. Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening provides physical exams, mammography and/or Pap smear screening and follow-up evaluations to women 40-64 who meet low-income financial criteria.
Nutrition Services/WIC provides nutrition education, high-risk nutritional counseling and supplemental foods, while the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program services women who are pregnant, non-lactating up to six months postpartum and infants and children up to five who are at nutritional risk.
The Environmental Health program provides a wide range of services. It is tasked with preventing communicable disease and contamination of food and water; developing and monitoring environmental health information; inspecting and controlling sanitation measures; ensuring safe water and wastewater disposal; controlling disease vectors and potential epidemics; facilitating laboratory testing of food and water; and inspecting facilities and shelters.
Registered Nurse Carolyn Simmons, who has 27 years of Public Health experience, has been Thomas County Health Department County Nurse Manager for 12 years. She is a member of St. Luke CME Church and enjoys traveling and family – especially grandchildren Antuan and DaiJshon Sanders.