0

Clayton health officials release countywide report

By Curt Yeomans

cyeomans@news-daily.com

The Clayton County Board of Health has released its first-ever report on the state of health in Clayton County.

It outlines the leading causes of deaths, and hospitalizations, and how many potential years of life have been lost from homicides, cancer, HIV/AIDS, and heart disease.

People between the ages of 40, and 49, made up 34.6 percent of the 1,652 HIV and AIDS cases reported in Clayton County in 2008, according to the new "State of Health" report.

Also, young people, between the ages of 13 and 29, represented the vast majority of Clayton County's reported cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis during that same year, the report shows.

The findings were released by Clayton County District Health Director, Dr. Alpha Fowler Bryan.

The report looks at everything from the number of recently reported HIV and AIDS cases, to the leading causes of death and hospitalizations, between 2003, and 2007, to the number of doctors working in the county, as recently as 2006.

"This report was developed by the Clayton County Board of Health to heighten the community's awareness of the prevalent health issues impacting our county," Bryan said. "One of the key functions of public health is to monitor the community's health status, and to mobilize partners and stake holders into action to identify, and solve, health problems."

The report is expected to soon be made available to the public, said Clayton County Board of Health spokesman, Joel Hall. "The report should be available on the [Board of Health's] web site, www.claytoncountypublichealth.org ... by the end of next week," he said in a written statement.

The 17-page report gives Clayton County residents a glimpse into health issues facing the county, "Need to Know" facts on hepatitis, and fighting infectious diseases. It also offers tips for problems such as preventing bed bugs from biting.

"I hope this report can serve as an impetus for igniting a conversation among our residents, business owners, policy makers, and faith and community-based organizations about the importance of creating conditions that can lead to optimal health for everyone," Bryan said.

The majority of the report consists of statistical health data, about the county, during portions of the last decade, including:

* There were an estimated 271,098 people living in Clayton County, in 2008, with 32.4 being the median age.

* There were 358 practicing physicians in the county as of 2006, the most recent year for which data was provided in the report.

* Cardiovascular diseases, such as strokes and heart attacks, were the leading cause of death in Clayton County in 2007, with 148 deaths per 100,000 people. The next highest causes of death were cancers, respiratory system diseases, infectious and parasitic diseases, and diabetes.

Spokesperson Joel Hall said people who would prefer to receive a physical copy of the report, rather than accessing it online, may E-mail him at joelhall@dhr.state.ga.us, or contact him by phone at (678) 610-7424.