First birthdays are incredibly special. From smash cakes to grandparent smiles, a first birthday is a milestone to be celebrated.
Sadly, though, too many families in Franklin County do not reach this critical date. Infant mortality — the death of an infant after their first breath and before their first birthday — is tragically high in our community, especially for babies of color.
The good news?
Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther made reducing infant mortality a hallmark initiative of his administration. Our client, CelebrateOne, is a public-private partnership charged with reaching the goal of reducing the infant mortality rate by 40% and cutting the racial disparity in half.
And so far, it’s working.
The data for 2018 is promising on many fronts. As recently reported in The Columbus Dispatch, 23% fewer babies are dying than compared to 2011. That’s 23% more families made whole.
In 2018, 18,212 babies were born in Franklin County. Of those, 136 died before age one with a majority dying in their first 28 days of life. Some of the leading causes of death are sleep related (babies not sleeping alone, on their back, in a crib), prematurity (babies born too small and too soon), and birth defects (babies born with abnormalities).
CelebrateOne is focused on community-based strategies, primarily in eight target neighborhoods where the infant mortality rates are highest. Last year, they trained 776 sleep ambassadors, distributed 1,635 pack-n-plays, scheduled 3,469 women for prenatal care, certified 95 neighbors as Community Health Workers, and hosted multiple community baby showers and first birthday parties.
All of this is making an impact. While more work needs to be done, great progress is being made. One baby step at a time.
Article by: Kerri Laubenthal Mollard, Founder & CEO