Community Health Fair to address Richmond County’s top causes of death

By: By William R. Toler -

ROCKINGHAM — Richmond County residents will have a chance to learn about the area’s top health concerns and available services at a Community Health Fair on Monday at Cole Auditorium in Hamlet.

“After we compiled our community health assessment that was due in December, we determined what the leading causes of death were in the county and the leading health concerns through surveys that were done throughout the community, we decided to put a health fair together to address those concerns and get more information out there, because we have a lot of programs and services available here at the health department,” said Allison Campbell, public health educator with the Richmond County Health Department.

In addition, there will be other service providers, including FirstHealth and Sandhills Alternative Academy.

According to the assessment, the county’s top ten causes of death are:

• diseases of the heart;

• chronic lower respiratory diseases;

• diabetes;

• cerebrovascular diseases (stroke);

• Alzheimer’s disease;

• unintentional injuries;

• kidney disease;

• high blood pressure; and

• influenza.

In the case of heart disease, it is the cause of 27.6 percent of deaths in Richmond County — nearly seven percent higher than the state average.

Diabetes is more than double the state average at a comparison of 6.4 percent to 3.1 percent.

“We’ll have educational material on all these causes,” Campbell said.

The event begins at 1 p.m., with presentation on the community health assessment at 1:30.

There will also be a break-out session on radon testing — from 2:15 to 2:45 with representatives from environmental health giving out free test kits; and an informational session on Zika virus from 3 to 3:30.

“With the weather getting warmer, mosquitoes are going to start coming out, so they’re trying to push education on that right now, as well,” Campbell said.

The event is free and open to the public, and Campbell said they hope to have as many people as possible come for the information.

“We’ll have plenty of materials there,” she said, including tips on health eating. “We’ll have brochures on just about any health concern you could think of.”

Several representatives from the health department — representing the maternity, sexually transmitted diseases, immunization and family planning clinics — will be on-hand to provide information on their respective areas, in addition to representatives from the Department of Social Services.

Richmond County Hospice will be performing blood pressure screenings and FirstHealth Community care will be testing blood glucose levels, Campbell added.

There will also be refreshments, door prizes and other incentives (tumblers) for the first 100 people to arrive.

Reach William R. Toler at 910-817-2675 and follow him on Twitter @William_r_Toler.

By William R. Toler