WYSO

infant mortality

Jenny Holmstrom

It’s a quiet summer evening outside the Xenia home of Michael and Lisa Anderson. But inside, it’s a world of women and small children. This is Lisa Anderson’s world. As a certified doula for the last two years, she provides support services for women and their newborns at home or in the hospital delivery room.

On the carpeted floor in the Andersons' living room, three infants play with brightly colored toys. Their tiny hands and fingers push and slap at the noise-making buttons, dials and knobs. Perhaps the quietest member of the group is Buffy, the Anderson’s Cairn terrier.

Major Wendy Stiver with Dayton Police
Jerry Kenney

Montgomery County has some of the highest rates of infant mortality in the country, and data show the problem is often related to premature birth and low birth weight.

Now, the Dayton Police Department is trying something new as part of a larger countywide effort aimed at bringing infant mortality rates down. Police will be collaborating with an intensive home-visiting program that helps families with newborns and young children.  

Nurse Elaine Patrick packs child-development and other educational materials into the back of her car. She visits new mothers and infants at home through the Help Me Grow Brighter Futures visiting nurse program.
Jess Mador / WYSO

State health officials are promoting visiting nurse programs as part of a statewide strategy to reduce Ohio’s infant mortality rate.

 

It’s persistently higher than the national rate, despite recent progress in reducing the number of sleep-related infant deaths.

Visiting nurses are a powerful tool to help more high-risk infants make it to their first birthdays, many Montgomery County public health advocates say.

“Our goal is to make sure every pregnant woman gets connected to some kind of service, particularly any one that can provide a visiting nurse after the birth of the baby, so they have a baby that's healthy,” Wesley Community Center Director Yvette Kelly-F
Jess Mador / WYSO

Montgomery County has some of the highest rates of infant mortality in the country. Data show the problem affects African Americans at all income and education levels much more often than whites.