HCPHA releases ‘Health’ report

Published 10:39 am Friday, June 4, 2010

WINTON – The Hertford County Public Health Authority (HCPHA) has begun the release of the 2009 “Health of Hertford County” titled State of the County’s Health (SOTCH) Report.

The report includes the latest available health statistics and demographics from the state for key measures of community health and well being in Hertford County. It also compares recent Hertford County rates to previous years and to the rates of the state.

According to Susan Askew, HCPHA Director of Community Health Services, “The purpose of the State of the County Health Report (SOTCH) is to heighten awareness of the health issues affecting the citizens of Hertford County by compiling and summarizing important health indicators related to illness, death, and high-risk behaviors for that particular year.”

The SOTCH or “Health of Hertford County” can be used in establishing priorities, leveraging current resources, and/or developing additional resources such as grants and partnerships, to address health needs in Hertford County. The 2009 “Health of Hertford County” serves as a supplement to the 2007 Hertford County Community Health Assessment (CHA) by providing updated health indicator data. The 2007 comprehensive Community Health Assessment can be found at the HCPHA web site under “Community Health Assessment” at: www.hertfordpublichealth.com

The annual report complements and updates the information provided in the Hertford County Community Health Assessment (CHA) report. The report features health data for the community health priorities chosen by HCPHA and the Hertford Partner’s for Health (HP4H).

Hertford County had an estimated population of 23,224 residents in 2008. The county has the second highest percent of African Americans in North Carolina at 62%. Nearly 25% of the residents live below the federal poverty level and as of August 2009, the unemployment rate was 9.6%

The most recent health statistics available for Hertford County revealed that the rate of deaths for heart disease, stroke, breast cancer and prostate cancer have all increased in the last year, and are now at above the North Carolina rates. Our death rate for diabetes has also increased and exceeds the state rate. The teenage pregnancy rate is still higher than the state but a decrease has been noted for the past two years. Most troublesome is the infant mortality rates in Hertford County which continues to climb and is double that of the state rate.

The report also highlights several of the activities that the HCPHA and the HP4H have done to address each of these priority health concerns. For instance, to combat the high rates of HIV Disease and AIDS cases in the county, HCPHA established an HIV/AIDS Disease Management Program in collaboration with the East Carolina University Brody School of Medicine. To address the high Infant Mortality rate, the HCPHA has established a Preconception Health Coalition, is marketing the Family Planning Program and is encouraging clients to develop a Reproductive Life Plan. The HP4H is focusing on reducing teenage pregnancy.

For more information about Hertford Partners for Health or to receive a full copy of the Health of Hertford County Report contact Susan Askew at (252) 358-7833 or visit our website at www.healthofpublichealth.com.