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Story from the Field

Name of Health Department/Agency: Hendry and Glades County Health Departments
State: FL
Date Added: 01/04/2010
Themes: Vaccine Supply and Distribution
Issue Summary: H1N1 Response & Successes
Description of Issue(s): Communication and vaccination efforts in very rural communities.
Actions taken to address the issue(s): The Hendry & Glades County Health Departments are in rural South Florida and our resources and tools for communication are very limited (We do not have local TV or radio and we have one small home-town paper that prints only once a week). We feel that our actions were "pro-active" instead of "reactive" because we took immediate actions before any cases of H1N1 were ever reported in Florida.
Outcomes that resulted from actions taken: We feel that our two rural Health Departments were very successful in the following ways:
  • Immediate Agency Partner Notification - On Friday, April 24th, we immediately sent notification to our local providers, hospital, pharmacies, schools, emergency response agencies (Emergency Management, EMS, Fire, Law Enforcement), and local government agencies regarding the Swine Flu issues in California & Mexico. This notification was sent via e-mail and blast fax.
  • Immediate Public Awareness Campaign - Monday, April 27th we prepared and submitted an article for our local newspaper (The deadline for our local paper is Mondays at 9am for printing in their Thursday paper--this paper only prints once a week). This was a notification & educational article regarding swine flu and what it could mean for our area. We also came up with creative ways to inform the hard-to-reach populations. We utilized programs within the Health Department to distribute educational materials:
    -Environmental Health distributed information during their inspections at migrant facilities.
    -Healthy Family & Healthy Start distributed information during their home visits & meetings.
    -Healthy Workplace Program distributed information to the local agricultural businesses.
    -Health Department staff distributed information at their local places of worship.
  • Great Partnerships with Schools
    Even though the majority of our schools do not have assigned school nurses, the Health Department staff and school administration worked closely together to monitor any suspected illnesses within the schools as the situation progressed and the communication efforts and partnerships continue to be a mutual success
  • Great Partnerships with Providers
    The providers in our communities followed and continue to follow the recommendations and guidelines of the Hendry and Glades County Health Departments and the communication efforts continue to be a mutual success.

Continued successes include:

  • Weekly newspaper articles regarding H1N1-Flu information and clinic/POD sites.
  • Creation and distribution of H1N1-Flu Educational brochures, booklets and posters.
  • Partnership with Hendry and Glades County School Boards to provide H1N1-Flu vaccinations at Middle and High Schools (during school hours).
  • Partnership with Edison State College to provide H1N1-Flu vaccinations on their campus in LaBelle.
  • Partnership with Hendry and Glades County EMS to issue vaccines to county employees and law enforcement.
  • Partnership with local agricultural businesses to vaccinate the hard-to-reach populations and minorities.
  • Partnership with local pharmacies to distribute educational materials and promote vaccinations.
  • Providing numerous PowerPoint presentations given to the following groups:
    -Hendry and Glades County Board of County Commissioners
    -Hendry and Glades County Public Safety Offices
    -Hendry and Glades County Emergency Management Offices
    -Hendry and Glades County School Boards
    -Hendry and Glades County community organizations such as Kiwanis & Rotary
    -Local Faith-based organizations within Hendry and Glades Counties
    -Local businesses within Hendry and Glades Counties
    -Daycares in Hendry and Glades Counties.

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