Public Health update highlights parent resources, dental treatment fund, and more

Dr. Piotr Oglaza gave his monthly community update to the Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox, and Addington (KFL&A) Board of Health on Thursday, Apr, 25, 2024. Photo by Michelle Dorey Forestell/Kingstonist.

The Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington (KFL&A) Board of Health met on Thursday, Apr. 25, 2024, and Medical Officer of Health (MOH) Dr. Piotr Oglaza’s monthly community update was part of the agenda.

Oglaza began by thanking the public and saying that the Monday, Apr. 8, 2024 “total solar eclipse was a spectacular event without any significant incidents or health system impacts to report to date.” He said there were not as many visitors as had initially been anticipated, suggesting more people travelled further east to the Brockville and Cornwall areas. He also reminded the public that any used eclipse glasses may be donated to organizations which send glasses to regions experiencing an eclipse later this year. (A list of places that were taking used eclipse glasses can be found here; please check specific locations for dates and deadlines.)

Oglaza also highlighted the Parenting in KFL&A initiative, which offers accessible support by connecting parents and service providers with a public health nurse.

He reported that Parenting in KFL&A’s Facebook page is a valuable resource hub with over 3,600 followers. From January to March 2024, 272 inquiries were made via phone, email, and Facebook Messenger. The most common types of information sought were breastfeeding support, access to public health services, child health and immunization questions, parenting advice, parental mental health concerns, and growth and development questions.

Next, Oglaza explained the new Ocean eReferral system, which is free of charge to health service providers in Ontario as part of the Ministry of Health-funded Ontario eServices Program. 

The Ocean eReferral Network is a cloud-based technology for health care referrals. Referrals are sent, tracked, and updated right from the patient’s chart using an online eReferral directory. Oglaza explained that through this system, primary care providers can refer patients to KFL&A Public Health programs such as Healthy Babies Healthy Children and the Nurse-Family Partnership and can even report adverse events following immunization.  

They can also report instances of communicable diseases; under the Health Protection and Promotion Act, all health care providers, directors of laboratories, and administrators of hospitals and schools are legally obligated to report a suspect or confirmed case of a disease of public health significance (reportable communicable disease) to their local Medical Officer of Health.

Finally, Oglaza gave a brief update on the Dental Treatment Assistance Fund (DTAF), which provides financial help to adults in the KFL&A region who need emergency dental treatment but cannot afford it.

Demand for DTAF remains very high in the community, and Oglaza reported that $30,000 was used in just the first quarter of 2024. At this rate, he said, the DTAF will likely run out of money by the end of the year.

The DTAF is a registered charitable fund. It is funded by grants from community agencies such as the United Way of KFL&A and the Community Foundation for Kingston and Area, along with donations. KFL&A Public Health issues tax receipts. Those interested in contributing to the fund can donate online or write a cheque to the Dental Treatment Assistance Fund and mail it to KFL&A Public Health Dental Program, 221 Portsmouth Ave., Kingston, Ontario, K7M 1V5.

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