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400 attend recent Meriwether Health Fair

Meriwether County Health Fair celebrates community
with health screenings, resources, and family fun

About 400 people of all ages came out for the annual Meriwether County Community Health Fair on Saturday, April 13, 2024, at the Manchester Recreation Department to enjoy free food, games and family fun with a focus on health, wellness and safety.

The Meriwether County Health Department, District 4 Public Health, and Meriwether County Family Connection hosted the health fair to provide access to free and low-cost health screenings, as well as information and resources to help improve the health and well-being of the community.

Along with the three host agencies, 30 other local organizations greeted the community at rows of tables filled with free children’s books, blood pressure monitors, diapers, stress balls, notepads, snacks, fresh fruits and vegetables, health brochures and other educational resources.

Outside, parents and even grandparents joined children as they hula-hooped and blew bubbles beside a brightly colored bouncy house. Nearby, the Manchester Fire Department taught children about fire prevention and fire survival in an interactive mobile Fire Safety House equipped with a living room, kitchen and bedroom. With fire department personnel, the children went through the home in a simulated smoke-filled environment as they practiced exiting techniques.

“It was great to see people come who I remember from last year’s Health Fair,” said Laurie Roberts, nurse manager at the Meriwether County Health Department, who gave away about 100 blood pressure monitors. “So many of them said, ‘It just gets bigger and better every year,’ and ‘We’re already planning to come back next year.’

“It’s such a wonderful way for local residents to see under one roof all the local agencies and organizations that work to support individuals and families with health services and resources to help them have healthier and safer lives. And it’s a perfect way for community organizations to learn even more about how they can help meet the needs of those who live in Meriwether County.”

Visitors also could receive blood pressure checks as well as COVID-19 vaccines. Organizations provided information on chronic disease prevention; opioid use abuse prevention and response; services and support for older adults; women’s health; children’s services; the WIC program; Medicaid, Medicare and health insurance programs; local literacy programs; and more.

The Greenville Lions Club provided 90 free vision screenings to children and adults. Morehouse School of Medicine provided lipid, glucose and blood pressure screenings to 51 people. Warm Springs Medical Center provided 17 individuals with low-cost lab services, including CBC/blood count, urine, prostate/PSA, thyroid, and lipid.

CORE (Community Organized Relief Effort) gave eight vaccines (to six adults and two children) and also helped four individuals sign up for government benefits. District 4’s HIV Prevention team was able to provide 25 free HIV rapid tests to community participants, and its Opioid Abuse Prevention and Response team gave away 16 naloxone kits.

“We look forward to the health fair because when these organizations can connect with community members, we can ultimately address their concerns, whether it’s access to health services, nutritious food, education, childcare, job retraining, stable and affordable housing, utility assistance for seniors, and other issues,” said Miranda Helms, quality improvement and accreditation coordinator for District 4 Public Health. “And while they learn from us about health and wellness topics, we learn so much from them, which helps us reduce disparities and create a healthier community.”