CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Following last Thursday’s unveiling of the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department’s new Mobile Health Unit, mayors of the smaller communities surrounding Charleston are addressing how it will be filling a major need in their most rural neighborhoods.
In a statement made by Charleston Mayor Amy Shuler Goodwin, she addressed how the new 40-foot custom-built coach vehicle will help make healthcare more accessible to residents of the farther-reaching areas.
“The Kanawha-Charleston Health Department does a lot of work in our Charleston community and throughout Kanawha County– helping ensure the health and wellbeing of all of our citizens,” said Goodwin. “This new Mobile Health Unit will help the Health Department better serve our communities by meeting people where they are, and making healthcare more accessible to folks throughout the county.”
Smaller-town mayors Scott Elliot of Dunbar and Melissa Hill, Mayor of Chesapeake were in attendance at Thursday’s ribbon-cutting ceremony of the new mobile unit. They were both glad to welcome the arrival of the KCHD mobile unit, and they feel it will greatly make a difference in their communities in particular.
Hill told MetroNews while many residents in the immediate 2 mile radius of Chesapeake have the best access to get to outside healthcare opportunities, as well as having Chesapeake Healthcare Center right in town, many other residents in the most rural parts of the community and surrounding communities are still posed with a challenge when trying to find reliable healthcare access.
“Right outside of our community there are a lot of hollers and people can’t get out, there’s no transportation,” Hill said.
The mobile healthcare unit is expected to make its way around to these communities and provide check-ups, exams, and Flu, RSV and Covid-19 vaccines.
Hill said she believes the chances are better for people to get the healthcare attention they need when it’s brought to them.
“Meeting them where they are, giving them the opportunity to experience something new in their community instead of having to find a way into Charleston just to get medical statistics and at least some initial analysis done that would help them solve some of the problems or tell them where they are health wise,” she said.
Hill recalled back during the late August flash flooding that most affected the rural neighborhoods of Witcher Creek, Winifred, Cedar Grove and Cabin Creek, and how the Chesapeake community didn’t hesitate to rally together and bring them food, water, cleaning supplies, among other essentials. She said the mobile unit will only add to their continuous efforts to help the people there who still need assistance months after that flood.
“We believe Chesapeake is a hub to be able to continue those services to those same communities that are still recovering from the flood that we just had a couple of months ago, so having healthcare is definitely needed there,” Hill said.
She said she particularly hopes the unit will also inspire more young people to get a check-up, as well, because, she said she has noticed that they tend to not take it as seriously and often end up neglecting their healthcare needs.
“To have something like this able to come to the community, I’m hoping they will at least be curious and want to be a part of getting their statistics checked and making sure they are healthy,” Hill said.
Hill said they will be reaching out often for the new mobile healthcare unit to come to the community and provide exams.