B’more Healthy Babies Program educates moms, saves lives
On Thursday, October 4, 2012 state and city health officials joined community service providers and program participants to celebrate the third “birthday” of the B’more Healthy Babies Program and two years of decreased infant mortality in Baltimore.
Thanks in large part to the innovative program, Baltimore’s infant mortality rate— number of deaths per 1,000 live births— has dropped from 13.5 in 2009 to 10.5 in 2011. In 2009, 128 infants died before the age of one, compared with 98 deaths in 2010 and 93 deaths in 2011. The number of sleep-related infant deaths has also decreased by half during the same time period.
The news that fewer babies are dying in Baltimore is encouraging for both providers and participants in the B’more Healthy Babies Program, which offers several prenatal education programs, in addition to providing in-home consultations, and a Baby Basics Moms Club.
It also offers a fitness program that focuses on postnatal health and wellness to keep new mothers healthy long after their baby arrives.
Additionally, new parents can join the Healthy Beginnings program that raises awareness of well-baby care and immunizations, and it provides tools for new moms to help chart and track medical records.
“The B’more for Healthy Babies initiative has been remarkably successful over the past three years and is an important partner in the statewide Plan to Reduce Infant Mortality,” said Joshua M. Sharfstein, M.D., Secretary of Health and Mental Hygiene and the event’s keynote speaker. “Baltimore is a leader in creatively and comprehensively addressing the causes of infant mortality and charting brighter futures for all City children.”
The program is a joint project of the Baltimore City Health Department and the Family League of Baltimore City, with funding support from CareFirst BlueCross Blue Shield and other private funding organizations. The program has served hundreds of men, women and children in Baltimore. Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said, “Infant mortality is a top health priority for the City. A lower infant mortality rate is an indicator that communities are becoming stronger and healthier.”
B’more for Healthy Babies uses a collective impact strategy in partnership with local hospitals, city agencies and health centers, and through community mobilization that involves its seven programs that serve 1,200 families to help reduce infant mortality and create better health outcomes for babies and families.
“B’more for Healthy Babies has something for every woman at every stage of life,” said Dr. Oxiris Barbot, Commissioner of Health for Baltimore City. “We believe that with the right support, every woman can experience better health for herself and her family.”