KENANSVILLE — Last week, Samantha Kennedy, assistant health director with the Duplin County Health Department (DCHD) appeared in front of the County Board of Commissioners to request the acceptance of two grants that will aid DCHD diabetes treatment and prevention programs. The request was unanimously granted by members of the board.
Earlier this year the DCHD applied for funding from Vidant Health Community Benefits Grant and was granted 12,000. The funding will aid in disseminating diabetes treatment and prevention programs by educating patients about self-management of the disease, preventing complications, and improving quality of life.
“It is a benefits program that focuses on prediabetes and diabetes management for our chronic disease patients,” said Kennedy as she described the grant.
Diabetic patients who receive medical care at the health department, who cannot afford their testing supplies are provided a glucometer, test strips, and lancets.
“With the funds that we receive from that we’ll be able to provide a medical home for diabetic patients, help supply them with their diabetic needs,” she said. “And also help them obtain some of the medications they may not be able to afford.”
The funds will also enable the department to provide uninsured diabetic patients with free hemoglobin A1c and lipids labs and assistance obtaining medication(s) through the Prescription Assistance Program to control their diabetes reducing the risk of complications associated with diabetes.
Among the resources available to patients who receive care at the health department and the community in general are educational classes that focus on diabetes. To address the barrier of transportation, diabetic patients who attend classes or see a medical provider will be given a $10 gift card to assist in covering the costs of coming to their appointments.
“The second (grant) is for our Office of Rural Health Grant and this is going to assist with funding our department’s Medication Assistance Program,” said Kennedy. “The amount for that is $21,983.38.”
The program helps uninsured, low-income citizens of all ages evaluate their optimal prescription drug choices and apply for free, discounted, and low-cost drugs through public and private medication assistance programs. The funds awarded will support a portion of the salary, fringe benefits, and supplies for a bilingual medication assistance coordinator through July 31, 2022.
Data from the North Carolina Institute of Medicine (NCIOM) reveals that in Duplin County, diabetes amongst adults over 20 years is a top concern.
A study conducted in 2017 shows that 16% of adults over 20 in Duplin County were diagnosed with diabetes. Data from the North Carolina Guide to Diabetes Prevention and Management indicates more than a 33% increase in people diagnosed with diabetes in NC in the past decade. The CDC projects that 12.5% of people in NC have diabetes or are at high risk for developing it. Additionally, 34.5% of adults have prediabetes 2, and about 21% of people with diabetes are undiagnosed.