The Wewahitchka Medical Center held its annual Back to School health fair last Friday and celebrated the 10th anniversary of providing services in its current location.
The event, which was open to the public, welcomed 155 members of the community and featured 18 vendors that offered free medical screenings for blood pressure, pulse oxygen, body mass, vision and hearing.
“This event is huge for the community,” said Paulina Pendarvis, public awareness director for North Florida Medical Centers. “It can reveal people who may have health issues they didn’t know about.”
Children in grades K-12 receive a free backpack filled with school supplies, which included helpful items like glue sticks, pencils, pens and notebooks.
Center Manager Katrina Saunders said that leftover school supplies are still available for pickup at the medical center and those in need are welcome to stop by and pick them up.
Supplies were also donated to Wewahitchka Elementary School and the library.
“This is an example of how we can all work together to help people,” said Saunders.
At the various information booths attendees had an opportunity to meet with doctors, medical providers, nurses and medical assistants to collect information and get any questions answered.
Local nursing and physical therapy business A&A Homecare showed kids the value of clean hands. A&A owner, Amy Miller and co-worker Nicki Skiles put a special lotion on kids’ hands to simulate germs and then asked them to wash their hands.
Under a black light, unwashed areas glowed white, giving kids some insight into where they needed to wash a bit better.
“If we teach them healthy hand washing practices, we’ll keep them healthy,” said Skiles.
Gulf County EMS, and Wewahitchka Search and Rescue and Volunteer Fire Departments were on-site with a fire truck and boats for the kids to explore.
“The search and rescue vehicles added an extra little icing to the cake,” said Saunders. “Our vendors felt like it was a good event for them to connect with people in the community, and we’re thankful to them for donating their time.”
Dr. Angel Cortes, who joined the facility in April 2013, praised the health fair and the services offered.
“People can have access to some tests that can’t normally be afforded,” said Cortes. “Residents should definitely get the screenings.”
Saunders said that during last year’s event, Bell Tone identified two children with hearing issues and helped them get immediate support.
“It’s always worthwhile when we catch something and can help them immediately,” said Saunders. “The fact we can help them out makes this event very gratifying.”
The Wewahitchka Medical Center is a Federally Qualified Health Center that has operated for 35 years. The center accepts Medicaid and Medicare and has a sliding fee scale for patients without insurance.
Saunders thanked the Board of County Commissioners and the city of Wewahitchka for helping with preparations for the event including the filling of potholes and bringing in a new dumpster.