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MDCH announces infant mortality reduction plan


FLINT, August 1, 2012 (AP): A Michigan Department of Community Health’s infant mortality reduction plan released Wednesday calls for implementing a regional perinatal system and expanding home-visiting programs, among other recommendations.

State health officials, who introduced the plan during an event at Hurley Medical Center in Flint, say the issue of infant mortality in Michigan is a ``public health crisis.''

Five out of every 1,000 white babies and seven out of every 1,000 Latino infants nationwide die before their first birthdays. Among Michigan's black population, the infant mortality rate is 14 out of every 1,000 babies born.

``Michigan's infant mortality rate is still higher than the national average, and alarming disparities continue to exist between various racial and ethnic groups, particularly between African-Americans and Caucasians,'' MDCH director Olga Dazzo said in a statement. ``We want this plan to help us keep our babies alive so that we may watch them grow into healthy, productive adults.''

The Infant Mortality Reduction Plan lists eight ``strategies and goals'' for 2012-15.

In addition to the plans for a regional perinatal system and expanding home-visiting programs, recommendations include promoting the adoption of policies to eliminate medically unnecessary deliveries before 39 weeks' gestation, promoting reproductive planning for all childbearing-aged adults as a component of their primary care and promoting access to reproductive health services as needed.

MDCH spokeswoman Angela Minicuci said the department has received some state funding to help pursue the recommendations, but also plans to pursue both grant and foundation opportunities.

The state health department's plan also suggests promoting safer infant sleeping practices to prevent suffocation and expanding home-visiting programs to support vulnerable women and infants.

Wednesday's event was held at Hurley Medical Center due to the facility's participation in a number of projects that are a part of the infant mortality reduction plan.

For example, Hurley has a Women, Infants and Children program on site at the hospital to allow new mothers to enroll in WIC services.

Online:  http://www.michigan.gov/mdch

Copyright © 1989 to 2012 by [LaPrensa Publications Inc.]. All rights reserved.
Revised: 08/07/12 06:12:16 -0700.





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