In a recent review of Family Planning programs statewide, it was found that Klickitat County is not following the trend of reduced services.
Carol C. Oakes, site consultant from Olympia said, "While Family Planning Programs in Washington State are seeing an across the board 3 percent decline, Klickitat County has experienced a 13 percent increase in services compared to the first half of last year."
Kevin Barry, director for the county health department attributes this to the staff and high level of professional care given to clients at either of the two offices in Goldendale and White Salmon.
"Our staff is highly trained and tries to understand the needs of clients in these hard economic times" Barry added, "We try to assess the needs of our community and plan services to address them."
When assessing needs for family planning services in Klickitat County, the Health Department looks at many factors. One indicator is the percentage of unplanned pregnancies in the county.
Over the last several years Klickitat County has reported more than 50 percent of its births as unplanned. (This does not mean unwanted pregnancy but just mistimed or unplanned.)
In 1999, the county health department reported 11 planned and 67 unplanned positive tests. These numbers do not take in to account the number of tests done at the doctor's offices or home tests, only those done at the health department.
As the agency has adjusted program needs and services for the community, the health department reports that in the first quarter of this year, of the number of positive pregnancy tests performed at the health department 19 were planned pregnancies and 22 unplanned. The second quarter of 2010 showed 17 pregnancies were planned and 16 unplanned.
Terry Rundell, nurse practitioner and program manager for family planning at the county health department said, "Some times it may look like we have a high teen pregnancy rate, but it is because our teens tend to keep their pregnancies. In reality we are consistently lower than the state and national average."
Women aged 20-29 show the highest number of unplanned pregnancies. This age group also correlates with the highest age group reported by the state for abortions.
Statistically Klickitat County continues to show a low abortion rate when compared to other counties and states.
One of the goals for Klickitat County Family Planning Program is to help prevent unplanned pregnancies, especially teen pregnancies.
The county does this by offering teen-friendly services such as confidential low cost visits expanding outreach opportunities that promote the FP program to the community and service organizations and coordinating of health department programs to provide FP information, referral and service as needed.
Jane Palmer, nursing director said, "The Health Department provides a wide variety of services related to pregnancy. These range from pregnancy prevention/birth control, community education, pregnancy testing, preconception education and planning, Maternity Support Services (MSS) and WIC."
The MSS program provides pregnancy support, education, referrals and home visitations. WIC services provide nutrition education, healthy foods vouchers, formula, and breast feeding support.
For more information you can visit the Health Department web site at www.klickitatcounty.org/health, call or stop by one of the offices in White Salmon or Goldendale.