What are the pieces we need to build a working model?
Is improving the airshed as much a part of improving our health as quitting smoking?
Previous historical studies and an in depth look at the health of the people of the Latrobe Valley has shown the historical statistical deficit in health, well-being and longevity.
Asthma for example is particularly prevalent here, some multiples of the national average. We live some 3-4 years less than average. This widespread sort of historic and community health disadvantage became particularly evident during the presentations to, and in the reports of, the mine-fire inquiry.
One of the recommendations from the inquiry report and accepted by the state government for action is to set up a Health Innovation Zone to look at how this can be addressed and rectified.
The state government has done this and a task-force has been set up to design, build and appoint personnel to the Zone.
For administrative reasons the geographical area of the zone is defined as the Latrobe Valley, and thus is the Latrobe City Local Government area. The Latrobe Valley has been designated as the Latrobe Valley Health Zone.
This is the first such Zone in Australia.
What we are asking here is what do you believe should be the scope of the Health Zone. - For instance mine rehabilitation is not within the scope of the health zone, and indeed there is a whole funded stream focusing on just that issue. Whereas the ash residual in the houses from the 2014 minefire and determining its toxicity certainly is.
So the question becomes what areas of responsibility would the community like the Health Zone to cover?
(yes I know amazing isn't it?, they are actually asking us)
What VotV have said so far:-
1) Air Monitoring is essential. We believe that permanent air quality monitoring measurements in our communities is an important part of the health monitoring and safety of the people of the Latrobe valley and that the EPA would be necessary to have on-board in any health assembly.
2) Link Long Term Health Study to Medico's. Given the recent report findings of the Deloitte report on the independence of the Long Term Health Study it seems logical to place them under the health zone admin structure to alleviate that. This would also assist in collating findings and making them available to assist the public through the informed medical services.
3) The elephant in the room when it comes to the health and well-being of the people in the Zone is hope - jobs and hope.
This is Your Health Zone....
So what other things can be done to improve our health and well being?
What should our health zone do?
What things should fall inside the scope of our health zone?
Please take some time to comment below, your input, your thoughts and ideas on this are needed to shape our future.