Ohio is the fourth worst in the nation for infant mortality and is second worst for black infant mortality. In Columbus yesterday, the state health department launched a program to aid 9 Ohio cities to work on lowering those rates. Dayton is among one of the cities chosen.
Ohio health department director Ted Wysmlo says the problem isn’t about hospitals or delivery rooms, but of communities. The Dayton Daily News reports that the top causes of infant deaths in Ohio are due to low birth weight, birth defects and sudden infant death syndrome. The Miami Valley is better than other parts of the state for black infant deaths, but the still, the rate is significantly higher than for white deaths. In Greene County for example, the rate for black infant deaths is double than the white infant deaths.
For cities like Dayton that have been chosen for the program, the cost is 40 thousand dollars with half of that paid for by the state health department. State Senator Shannon Jones from Springboro says the issue is a costly one for Ohioans. She told reporters that premature babies cost Ohioans nearly 1 billion dollars.