National Child Health Day TODAY – October 1, 2012!

In the U.S., the number babies who die in their first year of life is declining, with an all-time low 6.4 infant mortality rate (6.4 deaths for every 1,000 live births) reported in 2009, the most recent available data.  The U.S. infant mortality rate ranks near the bottom among industrialized nations. Moreover, there are persistent disparities that affect racial and ethnic minorities and geographic areas.

As a result, Secretary Sebelius has announced the creation of the first-ever national strategy to address infant mortality.  The focus of improvements in five common priority areas support efforts to reduce infant mortality through best practices and lessons learned.

  • Reduce Elective Deliveries before 39 weeks
  • Increase Safe Sleep Practices
  • Enhance Perinatal Regionalization Reduction
  • Increase smoking cessation among pregnant women
  • Expand access to interconception care

On Child Health Day, we are reminded that by giving our children a healthy start in life, we put them and our country on the path to a successful future!

September is National Infant Mortality Awareness Month

 The National Healthy Start Association (NHSA) has worked with federal legislators to designate September as Infant Mortality Awareness Month. Infant Mortality is a serious issue that affects our nation’s health. NHSA has developed a campaign, Celebrate Day 366…Every Baby Deserves a Chance, to celebrate babies living beyond the first year of life. With the infant mortality rate so high across the U.S, an infant living beyond their first birthday is a huge accomplishment for many families.

The Celebrate Day 366…Every Baby Deserves a Chance Infant Mortality Awareness Campaign supports and inspires people from around the nation to take action in support of the Healthy People 2020 goal to improve the health and well-being of women, infants, children and families. Be part of the generation that ensures that every baby has a chance…To take their first step. To say their first word. To graduate from college. To become President. To Celebrate Day 366.

Did you know that in 2005, the latest year that the international ranking is available for, the United States ranked 30th in the world in infant mortality, behind most European countries, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan, and Israel?  Educational discrepancies are also apparent across color lines when confronted with infant mortality. The infant mortality rate for African American mothers with over 13 years of education was almost three times that of Non-Hispanic White mothers in 2005.

Significant savings can accrue from enabling mothers to add a few ounces to a baby’s weight before birth. An increase of 250 grams (about 1/2 lb) in birth weight saves an average of $12,000 – $16,000 in first year medical expenses. Prenatal interventions that result in a normal birth (over 2500 grams or 5.5 pounds) saves $59,700 in medical expenses in the infant’s first year.

Learn more about infant mortality at:  http://www.nationalhealthystart.org/what_we_do/infant_mortality_awareness_campaign.  Be sure to Tweet about it and send it back to @NatlHealthyStrt.

 

Celebrating National Health Center Week: August 5-11, 2012

Each year the second week in August is dedicated to celebrating the services and contributions of Community, Migrant, Homeless and Public Housing Health Centers. While there are countless reasons to celebrate America’s Health Centers, among the most important and unique is their long success in providing access to affordable, high quality, cost effective health care to medically vulnerable and underserved people throughout the United States.

There are 44 million uninsured people in this nation and another 56 million who, although they may have health insurance, live in areas without doctors and basic health services. These health centers serve as the medical and health care home for over 20 million people nationally – a number that is quickly growing. Health center patients are among the nation’s most vulnerable populations – people who even if insured would nonetheless remain isolated from traditional forms of medical care because of where they live, who they are, the language they speak, and their higher levels of complex health care needs. As a result, patients are disproportionately low income, uninsured or publicly insured, and minority.

Let’s thank our Community Health Care Centers for all that they do to reduce disparities each and every day!