Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit Barrie Office
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Board of Health Notes January 18, 2017

Jan 24, 2017
Tay mayor takes chair of board of health; Prenatal classes will go online; New vaccine requirements outstrip health unit resources

Tay mayor takes chair of board of health

Simcoe Muskoka District Board of Health chair Barry Ward passed the gavel to Scott Warnock this week after he was acclaimed by the board. Ward, who has served on the board since 2000, will continue on as vice chair. First appointed to the Board of Health by the County of Simcoe in 2008, Warnock is also the Mayor of Tay Township. Barry Ward is a councillor with the City of Barrie. It will be a busy term for the new chair, as changes are brought in by the Patients First Act and a new set of provincial public health standards that are still in development.

“I am honoured to be elected as the new chair of the Board of Health,” Warnock said. “I am looking forward to the next year and I will be a strong advocate for the Health Unit and the great work it does on behalf of all the residents in Simcoe County and the District of Muskoka.”

Prenatal classes will go online

The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit’s free prenatal classes are too popular. There’s now a waiting list—and as a most mothers know, there isn’t much time to wait. Attendance at the prenatal classes has more than doubled in the last five years, Reproductive Health Manager Lori Webel-Edgar told the Board of Health this week. To manage some of the demand, the health unit has prepared a series of online classes that contain all the elements of the in-person classes. Once they are launched the online prenatal classes will be compatible on computer, tablets and android and smart phones—and accessible at any hour of the day. The online format will be particularly helpful for pregnant women who can’t attend classes because of transportation or scheduling conflicts. The classes will also be available for anyone who just wants to refresh their memory about a topic or two. Both the in-person and online prenatal classes are free; registration is required. Webel-Edgar said the online prenatal classes could be available to the public as early as the end of January.

New vaccine requirements outstrip health unit resources

The latest addition to free public vaccines in Ontario now makes the Human Papillomavirus vaccine available to Grade 7 boys for the first time. There will be more program changes to come, as indicated in the province’s  recently released Immunization 2020 Report. While new mandates are being added, health units have seen little or no increase in funding support to keep up with the implementation. Colleen Nisbet, the director of clinical services at the health unit, said the current level of funding per vaccine is already below the actual costs. The Simcoe Muskoka District Board of Health opted this week to write to Minister of Health Hoskins and Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health. The board’s letter will express its endorsement of a resolution passed by Algoma Health Unit calling for an increase in funding to support vaccine program delivery.


Next Meeting

The next meeting of the board of health takes place February 15 at 9:15 a.m.
in the Barrie office, 15 Sperling Drive.

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