Health department offers family planning program

By: By Emily Spell, RN - Health department

The Sampson County Health Department (SCHD) recognizes the importance of allowing women and men to plan their lives, including their family.

This planning includes when and how often they choose to have children. To assist them with planning their families, SCHD offers the Family Planning Program. This program offers women and men a variety of information and assistance, such as: healthy lifestyle choices, contraceptive choices, physical examinations, and pregnancy planning. The goals of this program are to help prevent unplanned and unwanted pregnancies, help promote healthy lifestyles for women prior to pregnancy and to increase the number of healthy prenatal outcomes.

The purpose of the family planning program is to provide medical and educational services to women and men of child-bearing age so that they may utilize contraceptive options to voluntarily plan pregnancies. The purpose of the program is to assist with voluntarily spacing pregnancies, provide education regarding male and female reproductive systems, self-breast exams, contraceptive choices, prevent STD’s including HIV/AIDS, improve maternal and child health outcome, decrease maternal mortality and morbidity, and prevent unwanted/unplanned pregnancies.

Services are provided on a voluntary basis. Patients are not coerced in any way and acceptance of services is not a prerequisite to eligibility for any other program. No one will be refused services because of inability to pay. Clients are charged based on the Federal Poverty level guidelines through DHHS sliding scale fee. Sampson County Health Department also accepts Medicaid or private insurance for family planning services.

Appointments for adolescents are provided as soon as possible. North Carolina law states that minors may consent to confidential services for the treatment of sexually transmitted diseases, emotional disturbances, substance abuse, as well as for services related to pregnancy prevention and the diagnosis and treatment of pregnancy. Adolescents seeking contraceptive services are informed of all contraceptive methods. Each patient is counseled regarding the fact that abstinence is the only 100% effective method of preventing both pregnancy and STDs. Minors are encouraged to talk with their parents/guardians about their family planning needs.

On-site contraceptive methods offered at Sampson County Health Department include oral contraceptive pills, condoms, intrauterine devices, hormonal injections, hormonal implant and emergency contraception. Condoms are distributed for free to anyone presenting at the Health Department with a request, with no physical examination required. Prescriptions or referrals to a clinician may be offered for those seeking forms of birth control that are not available on-site, such as the hormonal ring or patch.

Today, family planning is vital to promoting the well-being of women and men in our community. With education, women and men can make informed decisions that can positively impact their family for generations to come. If you would like to know more about the family planning services, please call the Sampson County Health Department at 910-592-1131, ext. 4214. To make an appointment for family planning services, please call 910-592-1131, ext. 4001.

By Emily Spell, RN

Health department