A three year Healthy Offaly Plan was launched on Monday 22 in Aras an Chontae. The aim is to improve the health and wellbeing of the people of Offaly over the coming years.
A study carried out in Offaly by the Health Service Executive in 2015 found that the county has a higher than average level of disadvantage with 86 per cent of its population either below average level of affluence or disadvantaged. Offaly also had a higher birth rate for females aged less than 20 (13.9%) compared to nationally (12.3%) in 2011.
The 2016 census reported that 11,154 people had a disability in Offaly, of that figure 5,461 are male and 5,693 are female. Figures from the HSE Suicide Prevention Profile Offaly 2015 highlighted the ratio of male to female deaths by suicide in Offaly from 2008-2013 was 3:1 compared to the national ratio of 4:1.
In Offaly there were 132 episodes of hospitalised self-harm seen in 2014 (61 males and 71 females) with the most common age at presentation in 2014 between 15-19.
Offaly has an average or below national average incidence for all cancers except female breast cancer which is higher than the national average. Offaly too has an average or below average national death rate for all ages and for the main causes of death except for respiratory deaths for all ages which is above the national rate.
The vision for the Healthy Offaly is: “Where everyone can enjoy physical and mental health and wellbeing to their full potential, where wellbeing is valued and supported at every level of society and is everyone’s responsibility.
In their forward to the framework document, for Offaly, Chairperson of Offaly Local Community Development Committee, Councillor John Clendennen and Martin Daly, Chief Officer said; ” The Building Healthy Communities project has already undertaken a lot of good work in Offaly using a community development approach to tackling health inequalities. This work will continue under the Healthy Offaly Plan.”
In his speech Cathaoirleach of Offaly County Council, Cllr Danny Owens, said a Healthy Offaly Team has been set up in the county in 2018.
“’The team includes representatives from key agencies, including the HSE, Offaly Local Development company, Offaly County Council, Laois Offaly Education Training Board, Offaly PPN and Offaly Partnership.
“As someone who was and continues to be actively involved in sport and physical activity, I would encourage all the agencies on the Healthy Offaly team to ensure that the actions contained in the Plan are implemented.
I also want to encourage all community groups involved in these actions to ensure as many people take part and benefit from the Healthy Offaly Plan as possible,” concluded Cllr Owens.