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Health unit sets budget, encourages measles vaccination

The Hastings Prince Edward Health Unit board approved a $15.6 million budget Wednesday at its meeting in Belleville – a 1.2 per cent increase over last year.

Medical officer of health Dr. Richard Schabas, stated in a release that the increase is due in part to an increased demand for some services such as the needle exchange program which involves the distribution of harm reduction kits to local injection drug users through local pharmacies, as well as the disposal of used needles. The aim of the program is to prevent Hepatitis C and HIV infections.

The budget reflects a requested two per cent increase in funding from the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (MOHLTC) and obligated municipalities (Belleville, Hastings County, Prince Edward County and Quinte West) to support both provincially mandated and local public health programs. Other 2015 funding is expected to be available from the Ontario Ministry of Children & Youth Services, MOHLTC grants, Health Canada, and OHIP reimbursements.

In other board reports:

Measles update:
Schabas, also addressed the recent occurrence of a handful of measles cases in Ontario. He noted the province used to see 150,000 cases of measles in children each year, but a province-wide vaccination program has reduced the incidence
significantly over the past four years.

“The vaccine is not 100 per cent effective, and not every child is vaccinated, but rigorous application of the Immunization of School Pupils Act is the best means to control measles,” he said “We are diligent about encouraging measles vaccination in Hastings and Prince Edward Counties.”

New Building Update
The Board of Health was told the new North Park Street main office project continues to be below budget, and a move-in date of March 6th has been selected. The majority of the move will occur during a weekend to minimize service disruption for public health clients.

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