The second annual Marana Care Fair will be held Friday, Aug. 8, from 4 to 8 p.m. at Coyote Trail Elementary School, 8000 N. Silverbell Road.
Although the fair is geared toward families with children in an effort to get children immunized before school starts, it is open to everyone, said Anna Anderson of the Marana Health Center. The first day of school in the Marana Unified School District is Aug. 13.
The fair is a partnership between the Center and MUSD and features "all sorts of activities that are fun as well as informational," Anderson said.
The brain child of Ora Mae Harn, board member of the Marana Health Center, and Kim Holaway, recently retired director of MUSD student services, Care Fair was an outgrowth of wellness clinics the two women started at MUSD schools a number of years ago.
The wellness clinics, held at Marana High School, 12000 W. Emigh Road, and Marana Junior High School, 11279 W. Grier Road, bring nurse practitioners and doctors to the schools to perform services school nurses cannot, like writing prescriptions and testing for viral illnesses such as strep throat.
"The primary goal of the Care Fair is to promote the awareness of healthy schools. It fits with what we are doing at the wellness clinics, but opens it up to the broader community," Anderson said. "We feel it is important for health care and education to go hand in hand so we can keep kids in school."
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Ga., Arizona ranks among the lowest eight states in terms of toddlers receiving immunizations. If toddlers aren't immunized on schedule, by the time they are 5 years old and ready for kindergarten, they are lacking any number of the protective inoculations needed to begin school (for immunization requirements, see box above). Without immunizations, children cannot enroll in the public school system.
In addition to immunizations - which will be offered free by the Pima County Health Department for children up to age 18 - there will be screenings for the uninsured to find out if persons qualify to receive health care through AHCCCS, Kids Care or the Pima Community Access Program, Anderson said. Also, basic physicals will be offered for $15 for adults and children alike, said Anderson. Physicals are required for any child wanting to participate in school sports.
Anderson's partner in coordinating this year's Care Fair is Chris Anders, secretary to MUSD's student services. She said Care Fair is important because it is "a way to get out in the community and let people know what services are available for them."
"There are a lot of uninsured people here and we help them know their options," she said. "Anyone can come to this fair and the screenings we offer … we are trying to get people hooked up with some kind of insurance and help them know the options they have and about the sliding fee program with the Marana Health Center."
More importantly from her standpoint as a representative of MUSD, Anders said, is getting the kids immunized, screened for vision and completing physicals.
"Kids can't go to school if they aren't immunized and children need to be in school to learn. Healthy children learn better, it is really as simple as that," she said. Wal-Mart will be providing free vision screening "because if the child can't see the black board, they aren't learning as well as they could."
Most of the activities at the fair, including a clown-driven train car, face-painting, eegee's, carnival games and a disc jockey were donated, Anders said. She and Anderson had to raise money for a jumping castle and pony rides, but donations from Trico Electric Cooperative helped pay for that, she said.
In addition to the activities and medical offerings, there will be random "giveaways" throughout the four-hour event, including bicycle helmets and car booster seats, Anders said. For more information, or to donate items to the fair, call Anderson at 682-3817.
SCHOOL SUPPLIES: PENCILS, PAPERS, BOOKS…IMMUNIZATIONS
No one enjoys getting shots, but immunizations are necessary to protect the general population from a variety of communicable diseases. Arizona law requires all children be immunized against certain diseases before entering a childcare center or school.
Because Tucson is located so close to the Mexican border, and that country does not routinely immunize its population, the risk is even higher for school children to contract one of a variety of childhood illnesses.
The Pima County Health Department recommends the following schedule of vaccinations, all of which will be offered at the Marana Care Fair Aug. 8 at Coyote Trail Elementary School, 8000 N. Silverbell Road.
Birth: Hepatitis B.
2 months: Diptheria, tetanus, pertussis; haemophilus B; hepatitis B; polio.
4 months: Boosters of 2-month vaccines.
6 months: Boosters of 4-month vaccines, without polio.
12 to 15 months: Diptheria, tetanus, pertussis; polio; haemophilus B; measles, mumps, rubella; chicken pox.
4 to 6 years: Diptheria, tetanus, pertussis; polio; measles, mumps, rubella.
7 to 18 years: Tetanus if 10 years has passed since last inoculation; chicken pox if no record of having the disease or inoculation by age 13; hepatitis B recommended.