Nebraskans could see dramatically improved life spans and significant health care cost savings if policy makers listen to the results of a Prevention Pilot Project recently completed by the state’s 19 Public Health Districts. The project was funded by the Nebraska Legislature.
Douglas County Health Department Director Dr. Adi Pour says each district selected a need unique to their community. She says those living in the rural areas have issues about access to health and dental care. She says in larger counties there are pockets of those needs. However, in larger counties there are health disparities that are not seen in many of the rural counties.
The Central District Health Department focused on obesity and improving nutrition and physical activity. The Douglas County Health Department used the funding to address teen pregnancy. The East Central District Health Department gathered student BMI and conducted health screenings. Other health departments focused on home visitation programs for pregnant women and new mothers, helping poor and uninsured adults with diabetes treatment, oral health care and immunization programs.
Dr. Pour says national data shows that for each additional dollar of public health spending that is used for prevention; $5.60 is saved on total healthcare costs. She says this shows that prevention is the way to go and the entire nation needs to move more toward prevention.