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EL Health District to fight head lice

August 11 2007;  The Review

EAST LIVERPOOL — The Board of Health voted Thursday to accept a lice-eradication program funded through the Columbiana County Department of Job and Family Services.

The Non-Chronic Head Lice Eradication Program will be conducted by the city health nurse, Jelayne Dray. All supplies and wages for the program are paid by Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). The contract is for 11 months.

Dray said she is always assessing community health needs, but efforts are often stifled by lack of funds. She became concerned about children missing school because of pediculosis--the medical term for head lice--and made contact with Columbiana County Department of Job and Family Services director Eileen Dray-Bardon.

The department has run a lice-eradication program at the health department in Lisbon for a number of years, but Dray-Bardon said Wellsville and East Liverpool residents did not use the service much because of the distance.

Moving the program to East Liverpool will make the service available in this part of the county while taking the staffing burden off the county’s shoulders.

Dray-Bardon said this opens a new era for a relationship between the East Liverpool City Health District and the Department of Job and Family Services. She said she is considering opening a department satellite office in East Liverpool.

"It’s been sorely needed for a long time, and I just think we have to do it," she said.

Children’s Services falls under Dray-Bardon’s direction, and she said head lice is a significant problem in the area. She knew of one child who repeated second grade three times because of school missed due to head lice. “That just shouldn’t be happening in Columbiana County,” she said.

Board member Marty Shuffert said head lice is hard on children emotionally, which people often don’t realize.

He pointed out that this service, as with other Health District services, will be confidential.

Columbiana County families with children and who earn less than 200 percent of poverty-level income are eligible for the lice-eradication service. For a four-person family, 200 percent of poverty income is $3442 per month.

City health nurse Jelayne Dray’s new extended hours will be Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday from 12:30 p.m. to 5 p.m.; Thursday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; and Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The health office is located on the second floor of the city building at 126 West Sixth St.

Dray will also travel to schools, day-care centers and faith-based organizations to educate families on lice prevention.

The Board of Health also heard a report from health commissioner Gary Ryan. Ryan said he contacted a specialist from the Ohio Department of Health regarding a spider bite in the area that required serious medical treatment. He also said he and the mayor visited Dan’s Bar and found there was a broken urinal there, which has now been fixed.

Ryan said rabies vaccination baiting for raccoons will begin the first and second weeks of September, and Sept. 8 is the first World Rabies Day.

He also said he will attend a health commissioners’ conference in the fall, a requirement for the health district to receive subsidy money.