South Carolina’s health department director says the state can do a better job providing health care where residents actually need it.

That’s why the Department of Health and Environmental Control will soon dispatch breastfeeding instructors to hospitals with the most need and offer immunizations for children at public schools.

“We would like to take our services to the people,” said DHEC Director Catherine Templeton. “These are accessibility, practical issues that I don’t have to be a medical doctor to see.”

DHEC, undergoing a department-wide reorganization, is trying to create efficiencies and improve accessibility, Templeton said.

She said many new mothers can’t practically coordinate a trip to a health department clinic for breastfeeding advice after their babies are born. Limited resources at health clinics also make it hard for parents to get their children immunized when it’s convenient for them.

Templeton spoke in Charleston on Friday afternoon during a panel discussion hosted by the Institute for Child Success about the Nurse-Family Partnership — a national program in place throughout South Carolina that sends nurses into homes of expectant and new mothers. The Nurse-Family Partnership intends to decrease infant mortality and promote healthy childhood development.

Reach Lauren Sausser at 937-5598.