by Sam Sentelle
Kanawha-Putnam health services update
Michael R. Brumage
February 27, 2018
Dr. Michael Brumage has been named Director of DHHR’s Office of Drug Control Policy. But since 2015, he has been Executive Director and Health Officer of the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department which provides administrative services for the Putnam Health Department. By coincidence, today was his final day before taking leadership of the new DHHR state office, and Putnam Rotarians heard a valedictory review and status report of health services for Putnam and Kanawha counties. Brumage was introduced by Cindy Farley, President of the Putnam Board of Health and President-Elect for the local Rotary group.
The Kanawha and Putnam Health Departments are operated by the same staff, Brumage said. And the staff is nationally accredited.
“Of the 2,800 health departments across the United State,” he said, “it is the only one accredited in the state of West Virginia. In all there are less than 250 accredited health departments. “Cabell County is going to become the next accredited health department, I believe. They have gone through that process.” West Virginia leads the nation in cases of hepatitis B, which comes largely from the sharing of needles, and comes in second — behind Kentucky — in cases of hepatitis C, he said, due largely to the opioid epidemic where people are sharing needles..
The health department is concerned with threat preparedness, such as flood and storm or contamination of a water supply; what to do if there is a chemical spill on the highway or railroad.
“What about individual preparedness?” he asked. “What if there’s a tornado, half the town is wiped out, and you don’t have electricity. Are you prepared for something like that? “A lot of people are: You want to keep about 48 hours of non-perishable supplies around.” Dr. Brumage suggested a website, “do 1 thing,” which encourages small steps for emergency preparation. Different topics are offered each month. By the end of a year, a full emergency plan could be in place. Once the program is completed, families may easily update their preparations. And those who are prepared can do more to help their neighbors.