Originally published Feb. 20, 2012
On Saturday, February 4, the Columbus Department of Public Health partnered with local healthcare providers and professionals to sponsor the 2012 Health Expo. Residents from all over West Georgia and East Alabama packed into the Columbus Trade Center to benefit from over 40 free health screenings, which included: blood pressure checks, stroke assessments, mental health exams and a number of different cancer screenings for men and women.
Regular health exams and screenings are useful tools in maintaining good health. The earlier a person can detect an illness, the easier it is to treat. Unfortunately, the cost of healthcare is steadily on the rise; many people are unable to afford even the most basic health services. In Muscogee County alone, 18 percent of the population lives on or below the poverty level; those who are not insured by Medicaid or Medicare are left at a disadvantage. The Health Expo's focus is addressing this growing burden in the community.
Since the Health Expo began, more than 12,000 people have taken part in the event and over 51,900 health screenings were given at no cost to the participant. This year, an estimated 974 people participated in the expo. Over half of all attendees came this year for the first time, and over a quarter of all participants claimed to have no health insurance at all.
"This year's event went favorably," said Mark Ellis, public health employee and Health Expo Coordinator. "The last couple of years we have worked through identifying areas of congestion and resolving glitches."
The Health Expo has been a vital asset to the overall health of our community. On average, over $1,000 in medical screenings are provided free of charge to participants. All participants can then have their screenings results reviewed by a doctor or nurse onsite the day of the expo. These screenings are provided by health professionals from local hospitals and regional healthcare providers. WTVM Newsleader 9 has been the media sponsor since its inception, providing event planning and media coverage.
The Columbus Department of Public Health encourages everyone to take advantage of this much needed event that is offered in the community annually. The screenings provided are invaluable to the health of the residents of Muscogee County and the surrounding areas.