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Infant Mortality Awareness Month

(Left) Dena Christy, Sharon Broome, Rochelle Littleton
(Left) Dena Christy, Sharon Broome, Rochelle Littleton

 

18-month-old Jordynae Fieldings 
Photo by Travis S.

Check out our article that was featured in The Advocate

 

The definition of "infant mortality rate" is the rate of children who die before their first birthday. And in Louisiana, that rate is higher than that of the country's. In East Baton Rouge Parish, that rate is higher than the state's. In 2018, 462 infants under the age of 1 died in Louisiana. Of that 462, 59 died in East Baton Rouge Parish. "That's enough kids to fill three kindergarten classes," Rochelle Littleton, program director with Family Road of Greater Baton Rouge, said at the press conference that honors national Infant Mortality Awareness Month. According to a report from the Louisiana Child Death Review Panel, a body that reports to the legislature, the U.S. saw an infant mortality rate of 5.9 deaths per 1,000 live births, over the years 2013-15. In that same period, Louisiana's rate of infant deaths per 1,000 live births was 8.1, placing it third in the country for infant mortality. In East Baton Rouge Parish, the rate of infant mortality for the years 2013-15 was even higher, with an overall rate of 12.8 deaths per 1,000 live births. Among the causes of infant deaths are birth defects, sudden infant death syndrome, lack of prenatal care for the mother, and low birth weight, Littleton said. That figure of infant deaths per 1,000 live births in East Baton Rouge Parish breaks down differently along race lines: blacks, 17; Hispanics, 15; whites, 5.7.The press conference was hosted by Family Road of Greater Baton Rouge.  "We want to pray for and ensure that every baby can take their first step, that they can say their first word, that they can graduate from school and have their own family one day," said Dena Christy, chief executive officer of Family Road. "Every baby deserves a healthy start," she said                                                                                                                       

From left, Tammy Duncan Swope, a board member with Family Road of Greater Baton Rouge, visits with five-month-old Haiden Carter, Haiden's mom Orlandria Simmons and father Tshona Carter, who are clients of prenatal care, parenting and other classes through Family Road, as they wait for the start of an Infant Mortality Awareness Month press conference at the Main Library at Goodwood, Wednesday, Sep. 4, 2019. Swope is also Vice-President of Human Resources at Lamar Advertising.
Photo by Travis S.

Baton Rouge Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broom and Dana Hunter, executive director of the Governor's Office Children's Cabinet, in attendance. Christy also announced a $4.87 million, five-year grant that Family Road received from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to continue its work for infant health. Family Road, founded in 1998, has received such grants from the federal agency for the last 18 years, she said. The funds have gone to the nonprofit's "Healthy Start" program, which offers free services to expectant mothers and fathers-to-be in East Baton Rouge Parish. The program provides case management with one-on-one visits with parents-to-be at their homes or elsewhere, providing support and information. The staff follows the family until the baby is 18 months old, offering parenting and child development education, well-baby care and immunizations

 

 

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