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Access To Basic Health Screenings A Problem For Many Mississippians

By Jeffrey Hess | Published 07 Dec 2012 06:23pm | comments
Penny Equinoa

A major challenge for the half a million Mississippians without insurance is access basic, potentially lifesaving, health screenings. MPB's Jeffrey Hess reports a short check up can detect potentially serious health problems.

A certified wellness evaluator checks the weight and body mass of 48-year old Penny Equinoa.

Equinoa, who describes herself as 'amongst the poor', is unemployed and uninsured.

It has been 5 years since she has seen a doctor or had even basic screenings, and hurried to a temporary mobile health care center in Byram for a basic check up.

"I take care of my mom and she has had some health issues and stuff. So I wanted the flu short and get her check. And accordingly I want to get checked too. Then if we have the high cholesterol and we have to change our eating habits, than it is easier if everybody in the house is eating in the right way instead of her eating one way and then me eating whatever," Equiona said.

Equinoa is one of the roughly half a million Mississippians without insurance who might skip easy, but potentially life saving, health care screenings.

But Certified Wellness evaluator Veronica Marmolejo says the 10 minute check up can spot diabetes, and high blood pressure or cholesterol.

"Prevention is the key to staying healthy. So it doesn't matter if you check it regularly or you don't check it all, everyone needs to check it for the important of staying on top of their numbers. And as I mentioned, just preventative care," Marmolejo said.

For both Penny Equiona and her mother the results were positive and the screening showed them to be in good health.

"Glucose was 100 and it is supposed to be 140 or less. And I am at 100 which is great. The cholesterol is supposed to be below 200 and I am at 135. (That isn't bad at all) yeah," Equiona said.

Mississippi ranks among the worst in most public health statistics, and health experts believe a simple check up similar to these can help lower those rates.

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Penny Equinoa


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