UAB is leading several projects together with community partners to evaluate public health related to failing sanitation in the Black Belt of Alabama.

The current project is a public health promotion project to expand surveillance for sanitation related infections across West Central Alabama, educate both healthcare workers and the public regarding sanitation related health concerns and link residents to resources. This project will be a collaborative effort between UAB, the West Central Alabama Area Health Education Center (AHEC), the Rural Health Medical Program, Inc. (RHMP), the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH), and the Consortium for Rural Alabama Water and Wastewater Management (CFRAWAWM) and the CDC. Our intent is to work closely with the CDC, the state and local ADPH, and healthcare providers providing health services for at-risk communities. Working with these community organizations and residents in the affected communities to ensure all stakeholders are involved in project planning and implementation is vital to the success of this project.

There are currently three separate projects funded by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to screen residents of Black Belt counties for intestinal parasites and related infections that community residents may be at risk for due to failing sanitation systems throughout the region. The first two projects are focusing on children who live in Wilcox, Lowndes and Perry counties. These are primarily screening programs for children in the three counties to test for soil transmitted helminth infection, provide necessary treatment, and identify risk factors.

Target Areas

Wilcox, Perry, Dallas, Marengo, Choctaw, Sumter, Greene, and Hale counties are all within the region of historically high prevalence rates for soil transmitted helminths (STH) and have been identified as high risk due to high rates of failing/inadequate sanitation. Additionally, these eight counties fall within the West Central AL AHEC service area. To expand the footprint of our work, we will use the existing local healthcare infrastructure and increase the reach directly into the community through education and resources.

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