Minister of State Catherine Byrne with Stephanie O'Keeffe, HSE, Kate Killeen, Joan Murphy, Derval Howley, all South East Community Health and Sarah McCormack, HSE at Kilkenny Castle PICTURE: PAT MOORE
A healthy population is a major asset for society and a plan to encourage people in the South East to improve their health and wellbeing was launched in Kilkenny Castle, last week.
‘Healthy Ireland’ aims to support people living in counties Kilkenny, Carlow, South Tipperary, Waterford and Wexford to be happy, healthy and well, in order to reach their full potential.
‘Healthy Ireland’ is implemented under the government supported Healthy Ireland Framework 2013-2025.
Many initiatives and projects are already underway in communities. At last week's launch some of those working in Community Healthcare spoke about those initiatives, and their success.
Among the speakers was Kilkenny man Luke Cleere who is a member of a peer support group for sufferers of COPD.
The city-based group is part of one initiative under Healthy Ireland - encouraging self management of chronic conditions.
Luke spoke about the value of the support group to him.
On the day a directory of services and programmes for people with chronic conditions was also launched.
Other initiatives that were showcased included the 'Cook It' programme that encourages healthy cooking; ‘Lift the Lip’ which trains public health nurses to spot dental issues in babies and refer them to a dentist; and a Traveller Health Took Kit.
The implementation plan was officially launched by Minister of State Catherine Byrne. She said ‘Healthy Ireland’ has the shared aim of a healthy Ireland where everyone can enjoy physical and mental health and wellbeing to their full potential – where wellbeing is valued and supported at every level of society and is everyone’s responsibility.
“The South East plan sets out how we can increase the proportion of people who are healthy at all stages of life, reduce health inequalities, protect the public from threats to health and wellbeing and create an environment where every individual and sector of society can play their part in achieving a healthy Ireland.”
South East Community Healthcare (SECH), the section of the HSE charged with implementing this plan, is aware that many factors can influence a person’s health, such as where they live and work; their access to education and to job opportunities; their individual lifestyle choices; their social supports and access to amenities such as clean water and transport.
Because health can be influenced by many factors outside of the health service itself, SECH is linking with partners, through joint committees such as the Local Community Development Committees (LCDCs) of the five local authorities in the South East and Children and Young People’s Services Committees (CYPSCs) in each of the five counties to ensure that agencies are all working together.
South East Community Healthcare delivers Primary Care (including community services), Social Care (including services for disabilities and older people), Mental Health and Health and Wellbeing services in counties Carlow, Kilkenny, South Tipperary, Waterford and Wexford.
South East Community Healthcare’s Head of Service for Health and Wellbeing, Dr. Derval Howley said at the launch: “Our plan focuses on positively influencing the lifestyle choices that people make in relation to smoking, alcohol, sexual health, healthy eating and physical activity.
“There are challenges. We look forward, however, to continuing to work with everyone, to make the South East a happy, healthy place for people to live, work and grow.”