04/22/2019
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  • 8:13 am This Day in History for April 22
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Contributed

Bladen County Health and Human Services Director Terri Duncan addressed the Elizabethtown Rotary Club. She spoke about several accomplishments and programs of the department.

Mrs. Duncan also spoke about her time since becoming Director of the Bladen County Department of Health and Human Services.

“This is the first time a nurse has been over that department,” said Mrs. Duncan.

Mrs. Duncan said on her 22nd day on the job as the newly named Director, the Bladen County Health Department was notified they had received their accreditation. She stated she is very proud of her staff for achieving this accomplishment.

Mrs. Duncan reminded Rotarians who gathered for the discussion that the measles

outbreak is one state away from North Carolina.

“The prevention for that is vaccination,” said Mrs. Duncan.

She noted that when the health department received the measles report, the staff checked nine out of ten the Bladen County Health Department clients at that time were not vaccinated against the measles. Mrs. Duncan said the clients were contacted. Out of those ten, six clients came that week to be vaccinated and rest of the clients came the following week. Mrs. Duncan said she does not know how many patients at private clinics are vaccinated against the disease.

She also said communicable diseases that have made national headlines have made it to Bladen County. “We had a Zika case about 1 1/2 years ago,” said Mrs. Duncan.

Mrs. Duncan recounted that it was on a Friday night, when she held the infection prevention coordinator position. Mrs. Duncan explained she immediately called the health department when she learned of the patient’s diagnosis.

The health department then called the NC Department of Health and Human Services. Mrs. Duncan explained that it was learned the patient had traveled outside the United States and had visited his aging mother in a country that had a Zika outbreak. He received treatment for the virus.

Mrs. Duncan also spoke about the Division of Social Services and their programs such as Elder Abuse, Child Abuse and Neglect, Medicaid and others.

She noted that when she worked in the hospital setting before moving to her current role, she witnessed cases of abuse and neglect of senior adults in the Emergency Room and would immediately call the appropriate authorities to notify them which included Bladen County DSS.

Mrs. Duncan said the Bladen County Department of Health and Human Services has  42 employees in the health department, 92 employees in DSS, and 24 employees in the Division on Aging.

Mrs. Duncan also shared some sobering data for Bladen County. She stated that heart disease is the number one cause of death in Bladen County with respiratory disease being second and cancer is the third leading cause of death in the county.

“One of the biggest health risks in Bladen County is the Opioid Crisis. The health department is working with Bladen County Opioid Team to change that,” said Mrs. Duncan.

Mrs. Duncan said the Bladen County Opioid Team has recently received a grant from the Kate B Reynolds. She stated a contractor has been chosen to help develop a plan of action to combat this crisis.

Mrs. Duncan also said she has set some big goals for the department. She stated there is a national accreditation program for health departments in the United States. Currently, there is only one county in North Carolina that has it and it is not Bladen County. Mrs. Duncan said she and her staff want to change that and they are working towards earning the national accreditation.

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