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Low Country Healthy Start holds 6th Annual luncheon Print E-mail
Written by Jerry E. Halmon   

The Low Country Healthy Start Program (LCHS) held its Sixth Annual Infant Mortality Awareness Luncheon on Friday, September 13, 2013 in the beautiful new Edisto Fork United Methodist Church Family Christian Life Center off of Highway 301 north. In her opening remarks LCHS Director Virginia Berry White noted that from 2005-2011, the infant mortality rate in the LCHS service area has decreased by 32%; compared to the State’s rate which only fell by 22% in the same time period.

Director Berry-White stated that many times when a mother goes into the hospital to have a baby “they don’t’ leave the hospital with the baby.” It was noted that 1-33 babies born is affected by a birth defect. It was stated that 423 babies died last year. Infant mortality rates are two and a half times higher for Black babies than other races. On a positive note, no infant deaths occurred in 2011-12 to participants in the LCHS Program. Also on the positive side the LCHS has seen a 96 % increase in participation.

The Low Country Healthy Start Program’s name will be changing to “Family Services of the Low Country” but the mission of the program will not change. “We will still be talking about infant mortality, women’s health and the important role men play in the life of a family,” Berry-White said.

S.C. State Senator John Matthews commented that “ A community that doesn’t take care of its children’s future has no future. It’s important to establish a live well community,” Sen. Matthews said. DHEC Operations Director Lou Ann Carter noted the “impact” and the changes that the LCHS has made in the four county area the last 15- years. She stated that infant mortality, and childhood obesity are “priorities” at DHEC. Dede Cook, President of the Orangeburg County Chamber of Commerce noted that September, is Infant Mortality and healthcare is a priority of the Orangeburg County Chamber.

The keynote speaker for Friday’s luncheon was Lisa Cortes, who started her career with Def Jam Records, and was producer behind the acclaimed movie “Precious” based on the novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire. Cortes told the group that we can all get in the world and achieve our dreams. Cortes, who worked with Russell Simmons and started her own record company stated that “you can become a drum major.” She told the group that “failure is ok” and is part of growing into your next step. “ I applaud you on how you have soldiered on. Every mother and father is concerned about the welfare of their child.”

Cortes told those in attendance that your body is God’s temple and we should be careful of what we stock ourselves with. She commended that her Four H’s are Faith, Family, Friends and Fun. She closed by telling the group “our imagination is a gift. Let’s imagine and focus on the thoughts that make you feel good. We all have a purpose if we have a plan.”

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