Last week I attended the the Summit on Infant Mortality in Columbus with 15 other staff members from Dayton Children’s.
While I’m still unpacking a lot of what I learned at the summit, one thing continues to strike me.
In the introduction, the speaker shared that in April 2012 the Ohio Department of Health released their 2010 statistics regarding infant mortality showing that Ohio was ranked 11th worse in the country with 7.7 deaths per 1,000 births. Their group readied a really well done press release and sent it out to over 800 news stations in Ohio. They were prepared to answer any questions the media would have. Do you know how many news stations contacted them?
One radio station in Cleveland. One radio station in Cleveland cared enough about these babies to make a follow-up phone call.
The lack of, dare I say apathy, was one of the main reasons for the summit. To Turn Up the Volume about this issue which isn’t just a number – 1,088 babies in a year’s time – but children who were the pride and joy of their parents! These 1,088 babies left behind sisters and brothers, grandparents, aunts, uncles and most importantly the hopes and dreams of their parents.
There are a lot of issues – both medically and socially – that are linked to infant mortality such as prematurity, SIDs and unsafe sleeps practices. And many of these issues are going to take entire communities working together to solve – that is why so many staff members from Dayton Children’s participated. But I believe there is a place for the individual on a very human, one-to-one level, as well to take part in Turning Up the Volume on infant mortality.
I’m a mother, sister, aunt and friend who knows many women who are pregnant or of child-bearing age. I’m telling all of you reading – take care of yourself. Eat well. Don’t drink or smoke while pregnant. Visit your physician regularly. Ensure your child has a safe place to sleep. Talk to others about the importance of taking care of themselves and spread the word.
Babies don’t need to die!