Maryland County Launches Initiative To Reduce Infant Mortality Rate Among Blacks
Anne Arundel County, Md., on Tuesday launched its Healthy Babies Campaign, an effort that seeks to reduce the infant mortality gap between whites and blacks, the Annapolis Capital reports.
Black infants die at more than three times the rate of white infants in the county, according to the Capital. The County Department of Health's Office of Minority Health in 2004 issued a report that found from 2000 to 2004, there were 16.2 black infant deaths per 1,000 live births, compared with 5.2 deaths per 1,000 live births among white infants. It also found that black infants were more likely to be born with low birthweights at a rate of 13.4 per 1,000 births, compared with 6.8 per 1,000 live births for whites. Further, blacks had a teenage pregnancy rate twice as high as that of whites.
County health workers on Tuesday distributed printed material and resources throughout the county, including posters and fliers notifying parents of available resources, healthy pregnancy kits, baby care kits and emergency phone numbers that offer advice.
The county has conducted other infant mortality initiatives, such as highlighting teen pregnancy programs and holding a Healthy Babies Summit last year.
Frances Phillips, the county health officer, said the disparities are "startling," adding, "Some causes are not avoidable. We know we can't get (the rate) down to zero, as much as we'd want to. But a 3-to-1 gap we can change" (Woodards, Annapolis Capital, 5/9).