LUMBERTON — The Board of Health at its Thursday night meeting approved a budget amendment to accept two new grants that will continue the department’s efforts to prevent and treat diabetes, one of the deadliest diseases in the county.
A $24,000 grant from the March of Dimes Foundation will go toward providing diabetes test strips for pregnant mothers, who are at risk of contracting gestational diabetes.
According to Monica McVicker, nutrition director for the department, this type of diabetes can pose serious medical risks for the mother and child during birth. Also, if the mother’s diabetes is not controlled after birth, she could develop type II diabetes, McVicker said.
She said that the county’s minority population, especially Hispanic women, and those expectant mothers who are uninsured most often suffer from gestational diabetes, but cannot afford the strips to test their sugar levels the recommended four times a day.
The grant will also pay for an educational program for pregnant women to prevent the disease from developing.
Another grant, totaling about $43,000 from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, will fund an educational program for diabetes patients.
The Health Department is also teaming up with Wake Forest School of Medicine in a program that is slated to start in April for diabetes prevention. The program will be for patients who have received a pre-diabetes diagnosis and will get treatment to prevent them from fully developing the disease.
Also on Thursday, the board decided the scale back its meetings rather than holding them monthly because attendance has been erratic.
The board is planning to meet Feb. 23, April 5, June 28, Aug. 23, Sept. 27, Oct. 25 and Nov. 15.
Health Director Bill Smith said that the board will meet in March, May and July if needed.
“We tend to get burned out on Animal Control issues,” Smith said. “So if there isn’t any of the controversial issues, we usually have a very light meeting. This way, maybe, we’ll get the attendance we need.”
In other business on Thursday, the board re-elected Tom Taylor as its chairman and John Adams as vice chairman.