Nationally, October 24-30 marks Lead Poisoning Prevention Week, and locally, SC Gov. Henry McMaster proclaimed this week Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Week.
About 3.6 million American households have children under 6 years of age who live in homes with lead exposure hazards, according to HUD, and each year, more than 300 children are diagnosed with lead poisoning in the South Carolina. Lead exposure is especially dangerous to developing children and can lead to brain damage, learning disabilities, developmental delay, and behavioral and attention problems.
To learn more about Lead Poisoning Prevention Week, click here.
To learn more about the dangers of lead, click hereor call the toll-free number 1-866-466-5323.
National Assisted Living Week, observed September 12-18, is held to recognize the hard work, compassion and care involved in operating assisted living facilities and the residents they serve.
An Assisted Living Facility (ALF) is also known as a Community Residential Care Facility (CRCF) in South Carolina. There are currently 480 licensed CRCFs in the state.
“Compassion, Community, Caring” is this year’s theme for National Assisted Living Week. The COVID-19 pandemic has created challenges for CRCFs, but DHEC has continuously aided the facilities despite the many changes that have occurred during the pandemic.
Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) is a debilitating genetic disease that impacts many families across the globe. Every September is recognized as NationalSickle Cell Awareness Month to help focus attention on the need for research and treatment of sickle cell disease.
This year’s theme, Sickle Cell Matters, also highlights the need to raise awareness about the daily struggles of those living with Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) as well as dismantle the stereotypes and stigmas associated with persons who have the disease.
SCD affects millions of people throughout the world. Although SCD is most common among African Americans in the United States, it can also affect Hispanics and people whose ancestors come from countries in South Asia (such as India), southern Europe (such as Greece and Italy), and the Middle East (such as Saudi Arabia and Lebanon).
July 28 is World Hepatitis Day, and this year’s theme is “Hepatitis Can’t Wait.” This theme was chosen by the World Hepatitis Alliance because testing, vaccination, and treatment for hepatitis can’t wait, even during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In South Carolina, hepatitis continues to be a major health burden on many in our communities. Chronic hepatitis B and C can lead to liver disease, cancer and death if untreated. Hepatitis A, while usually a mild illness, has caused increased hospitalizations during the ongoing outbreak in South Carolina that began in 2018.
In 2019, 527 cases of chronic hepatitis B and 7,022 cases of chronic hepatitis C were diagnosed in South Carolina. Additionally, 2,000 hepatitis A cases have been identified since the outbreak began in November 2018.
The best way to prevent viral hepatitis infection and liver damage is to be vaccinated for hepatitis A and B and to be screened for hepatitis C. People diagnosed with hepatitis C can be cured of the infection, and the risk of further liver damage can be reduced.
Hepatitis can’t wait, and we can all do our part to reduce the burden of hepatitis in our communities.
To learn more about hepatitis, please click here. To find hepatitis, STD and HIV services in your areas, please click here.
The Division of Cancer Prevention, located in the Bureau of Chronic Disease and Injury Prevention, was one of four awardees nationwide selected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to conduct a pilot project to address rural and urban disparities in cancer survivorship.
The pilot project, titled “Improving the Health and Wellness of Cancer Survivors in Rural Communities,” focused specifically on tele-mentoring strategies using Project ECHO (Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes) to increase coordination and movement of knowledge between specialists and primary care providers. The internationally recognized Project ECHO offers a unique knowledge-sharing approach to create an online community that shares best-practices and case-based learning resources. This online model leverages technology to expand the reach and connectivity of providers in rural areas to subject-specific knowledge and specialists.
SC CCCP held monthly; one-hour Zoom sessions from October 2020 to February 2021. Topics included cancer pain management, sexuality and intimacy, and nutrition for cancer survivor patients. Each session was able to provide expert-delivered content that highlighted best-care practices and created a community of practice among oncologists, primary care providers, nurses, social workers, researchers, administrators, and other caregivers.
Over this ECHO series, the project reached 102 unique participants, with an average of 37 participants per session. Data from this pilot project was able to link providers in four rural counties with specialists in seven urban SC counties and four out-of-state sites. Providers who participated in the ECHO intervention reported up to 60% of their patient population reside in rural areas, which speaks to the intervention’s achievement in targeting rural patients for improved cancer care and outcomes.
“Residents in our rural counties often have less health care access including fewer health care workers, specialists such as cancer doctors, and transportation options,” said Sonya Younger, Comprehensive Cancer Control Program Director. “Rural residents are also more likely to be uninsured and to live farther away from health services. Through innovative telementoring, Project ECHO helped the Division of Cancer Prevention and Control increase rural provider workforce knowledge to provide best-practice, cancer specialty extended care.”
By utilizing the ECHO model to share knowledge and foster a clinical community, reaching widespread providers and other clinical professionals that service rural communities, the Division of Cancer Prevention and Control shows the core value of Inspiring Innovation and is an example of the agency strategies of Service and Accessibility and Education and Engagement.
Success was possible through the connectedness of the SC Cancer Division including Best Chance Network, Comprehensive Cancer Control, and Research and Planning program staff and its partners and providers, as well as virtual sessions and electronic communication, demonstrating DHEC’s core value of Promoting Teamwork.