Now’s The Time to H.O.P. Into Public Health

South Health District Encourages Being “Healthy on Purpose”

VALDOSTA – At a time where individual well-being and collective health are top priority, it is more important than ever that everyone take on the challenge of leading a purposeful and healthy life. Being purposeful with your healthcare means something different to everyone and public health is here to help you figure out what it means for you.

Whether through immunizations, early intervention, regular health checks, environmental health, or emergency preparedness, the Georgia Department of Public Health’s South Health District’s new health initiative “Healthy on Purpose,” is here to help residents learn the ways that public health can help them be purposeful about their healthcare.  

“Our goal with the ‘Healthy on Purpose’ initiative is for people to understand public health a little better,” said Dr. Mark Eanes, District Health Director. “COVID brought public health into the limelight, but we want people to know that, while we are here to respond during a pandemic, we are here every other day as well. Being healthy on purpose for us is helping people figure out what purposeful healthcare means for them, and then figuring out how we can help in that journey.”

Public health’s focus on purposeful healthcare begins before a person is born and continues throughout their life.

Our Baby LUV/PAT GA Strong Families Healthy Start program’s goal is to prevent premature births and infant deaths by providing education and case management to high-risk pregnant women. 1st Care assists families with premature or low birth weight infants after the infant is discharged from the hospital. Early Hearing Detection and Intervention is a statewide screening and referral system that ensures all Georgia newborns are screened for hearing loss at birth before discharge from the hospital.

The care for children doesn’t stop there. Our car seat program helps provide low-income families with child safety seats. Babies Can’t Wait and Children 1st, serve children who have or are at risk of significant developmental delays or poor health or development. Children’s Medical Services provides medical care for disabling conditions or chronic disease in children from birth to age 21.

Our Women’s, Infants, and Children (WIC) program is a supplemental nutrition program available to infants, children to age 5, pregnant women, breastfeeding mothers, and postpartum women.

Another extremely important part of being “Healthy on Purpose” is immunizations. Immunizations are the foundation of purposeful healthcare. Immunizations provide a shield against vaccine preventable diseases. By following regular, routine vaccination schedules, individuals not only protect themselves but also the entire community by minimizing the spread of preventable illnesses.

Our Women’s Health program offers family planning services including gynecological exams, pregnancy testing, birth control, counseling and breast and cervical cancer screening through the Breast and Cervical Cancer Program (BCCP).

From STD checks, environmental health services, public health emergency response to chronic disease prevention, infectious disease treatment and prevention, oral health, opioid prevention, birth and death certificates, and much more, public health is here to help all of our residents live their healthiest life.

“Our district’s goal is not just for the people we serve to be purposeful with their health, but also to know that we are purposeful in our care,” said Eanes. “Public health means different things to different people, even for our staff. For our children’s programs, public health means caring for the children they serve. For emergency preparedness, public health means making sure we are ready to respond when our community needs us. Everything we do has a purpose, and that purpose is to serve.”

No matter what being “Healthy on Purpose” means to you, public health is here to help. To learn how our team can help you, contact your local health department today.

To learn more about being “Healthy on Purpose” visit