Kingston Frontenac Lennox and Addington Public Health made a presentation at the January meeting of Frontenac County Council earlier this month.
The agency provides a broad basket of services, ranging from vaccinations to septic restaurant inspections, smoking cessation and active living promotion. Frontenac County provides a share of the funding for KFL&A Public Health, $771,000 in 2019, which represents just under 5% of the $15.7 million in public money that will go to the agency.
Of that $15.7 million, $9.4 million (63%) comes from the government of Ontario, and the rest comes from the three municipal partners, based on population. Frontenac County residents will be paying $771,000 in 2019, an increase of $13,000 over 2018, and about 5% of the overall Public Health Budget.
Their presentation to Council was delivered by Dr. Linna Li, with support from Dr. Kieran Moore, Medical Officer of Health. Li pointed to the three areas of 3 P’s of Public Health; prevention, protection and promotion.
Under prevention, service areas include: food and water safety, immunization, communicable diseases prevention, and emergency preparedness. Under prevention, they include: chronic disease prevention, substance use and injury prevention. And under promotion, they include: healthy environments, school health, and healthy growth and development.
Public Health has a large headquarters on Portsmouth Avenue in Kingston and satellite offices in Napanee as well as two in Frontenac County – Sharbot Lake and Cloyne.
Dr. Li pointed out to statistics which show that dollars invested in public health result in a healthier population and a cost savings by lessening the burden on the healthcare system. According to her presentation, every dollar spent on mental health and addictions services results in thirty dollars in increased productivity and social services savings. Every dollar spent on immunization programs saves sixteen dollars in healthcare costs. Every dollar spent on tobacco prevention saves twenty dollars in future health care costs. Every dollar spent in early childhood development saves nine dollars in future spending in health, social and justice services.
Dr. Moore said that Public Health is looking to “increase our profile in Frontenac County by enhancing the use of our offices, hopefully turning them into community hubs for our services and those of our partners.”
In addition to the work that Public Health has taken on in recent years, in tobacco use prevention and administering the Smoke Free Ontario Act, a new initiative to inform the public about the implications of cannabis use through an information campaign, has been initiated. Last year, KFL@A Public Health initiated an information campaign about radon gas and sponsored radon testing in Frontenac and Lennox and Addington Counties, where radon contamination is well above the national average.