Chambers County ranks 43rd in health in Alabama
Published 10:30 am Friday, March 31, 2023
Chambers County saw its rank fall in a study that ranks the state of Alabama’s counties in health and wellness. Chambers checked in at 43 after being ranked number 39 in 2022 in the County Health Rankings by the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute.
Until 2023, on average Chambers County had been improving in health outcomes for the past six years. From 2017 to 2022, the county went from ranking at 51 to 39.
The ranking is based on data such as length of life, quality of life and health factors like physical environment, health behaviors and socioeconomic factors.
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State Department of Public Health District Administrator Tim Hatch said that some data over the last few years has been impacted by the inactivity of people during the pandemic. As the DPH returns to pre-COVID-19 services, the data will be able to give more reliable information.
Hatch manages 11 counties, including Chambers County. Hatch and District Health Educator Netta Al-Assi said there are many programs that citizens in the county can utilize through the Department of Public Health.
“In Chambers County, we are working with a lot of community partners,” Hatch said.
Operation Wipe Out is an initiative run through University of Alabama at Birmingham and the DPH that focuses on eradicating cervical cancer through preventative measures like education and HPV vaccinations. The program launched in Chambers County to address the area’s higher-than-average rates of cervical cancer.
“We want to advocate for people getting that vaccine because that’s part of cervical cancer prevention,” Al-Assi said.
The DPH also partners with DHR on the WIC (Women, Infant and Children) program, which helps with provisions of food and formula for mothers and children.
The program can impact the quality of life of citizens. It also promotes healthy babies and decreases cases of diabetes, hypertension and obesity. There are 1,000 individuals enrolled in the program in the county.
“We encourage people to seek out healthy lifestyles,” Hatch said.
According to County Health Rankings, this year they found that counties with civic infrastructure with better resources have higher rates of high school graduation, higher household income, less income inequality and lower rates of children in poverty and uninsured adults. They also have higher life expectancy.
“Our findings reveal that people and places thrive when all residents have the chance to participate in their communities,” said Sheri Johnson, principal investigator of County Health Rankings & Roadmaps and director of the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute in a press release. “History shows that we can remake systems and structures through civic participation that are beneficial to all.”
The rankings provide several civic health solutions. The organization suggests investing in libraries, community centers and other public spaces. It also recommends implementing youth leadership programs and voter registration and turnout initiatives.