Report prioritizes pregnancy rates

Feb. 16, 2013 @ 08:26 PM

Second in a series

The 2012 State of the County Health Report released this past week by the Granville-Vance District Health Department showed the rate of pregnancies among teens ages 15-19 in Vance County has dropped 35.1 percent between 2002 and 2011.

But it is still high. The county rate is 63 percent higher than the state rate and is the eighth-highest in the state.

The pregnancy rate in Granville County has dropped 33.3 percent over the same time period and is 11.6 percent below the state rate.

The report also showed that rates of chlamydia and gonorrhea in Vance County were significantly higher than the rates for the state. Rates for those sexually transmitted diseases in Granville County were lower than the state rates, although the rate of chlamydia in the county increased 10.6 percent in the period 2007-2011 over the previous five-year period.

Based on these findings, the health department’s community assessment team identified reproductive health and pregnancy outcomes as a priority area on which to focus community efforts, with special attention on Vance County.

Health Director Lisa Harrison said, “I’m a big proponent of evidence-based programs. All the programs we have addressing the priorities depend on science that has proven to have a positive effect on the people they serve.”

The following programs have been initiated to address the priority of reproductive health and pregnancy outcomes:

• Making proud C\choices: The health department partnered with the Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Campaign of North Carolina and Vance County Schools to offer a comprehensive sex education program to students in grades 7 through 9.

The program, adopted after the General Assembly passed the Healthy Youth Act in 2009, provides information about the HIV virus, sexually transmitted diseases and unintended pregnancies.

• Teen PEP (Prevention Education Program) is a for-credit course for high school juniors and seniors. A faculty team trains the students to be effective sexual health advocates and role models. The course focuses on postponing sexual involvement, unintended pregnancy, HIV/AIDS, other STDs, sexual harassment, date rape, dating violence, homophobia reduction and other health issues.

• Girls on the Run. The program combines an interactive curriculum and running to develop self-respect and healthy lifestyles in pre-teen girls. It was launched in Vance County in 2010 by Henderson Family YMCA, the Henderson Junior Woman’s Club and the health department. An expansion to Granville County is planned for this year.

• Adolescent Parenting Program. The program, funded through the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiatives (TPPI) of the N.C. Division of Health and Human Services and Franklin-Granville-Vance Smart Start, is designed to help teen mothers prevent a second pregnancy while pursuing their educational goals.

• Teen PREP-Teen Outreach Program. The program is designed to prevent a first pregnancy. It is funded by TPPI through Infinite Possibilities and is an elective course for students in grades 6-8 at Henderson Middle School.

• Parents Matter. The iniative helps to prepare parents to communicate with their pre-teen children about sex and risk behavior. It also assists parents in helping their children handle the many messages about sex they receive from peers and media. One five-week session was completed in Granville County. Another session will take place in both Granville and Vance counties during 2013.

Coming next: Chronic disease and lifestyle issues.

Contact the writer at dirvine@hendersondispatch.com.