FORT WORTH — Here in Fort Worth we pride ourselves on having a healthy, vibrant and diverse community. We support one another and understand the relationship between healthy individuals and a healthy community. But there’s always more we can do, and there’s no shortage of work to do when it comes to addressing a serious health challenge like infant mortality.
It may be surprising to hear that one of the top health issues facing Fort Worth today is our infant mortality rate. Infant mortality is defined as the death of a child within the first year of life. Sadly, babies in Fort Worth are dying from a wide range of causes including prematurity/low birth-weight, birth defects and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
According to the UNT Health Science Center, the United States has a target goal for the year 2020 of no more than six infant deaths per 1,000 live births. Currently, Fort Worth is sitting at a little over eight infant deaths per 1,000 live births, and African Americans in Tarrant County have an infant mortality rate of over 12 deaths per 1,000 live births. This is not an issue to take lightly, and we should not stand for the obvious ethnic disparities that exist.
Fortunately, there is something we can do. To combat this problem, we can collectively recognize that better pre-conception health care and education will lead to better pregnancy outcomes. There is a local initiative called Healthy Moms – Healthy Babies – Healthy Community with the goal of providing information and resources to raise community health and reduce infant mortality rates in Fort Worth. This initiative has already received grants from some significant benefactors, but it will take all of us to affect lasting change.
So let’s join together in the fight against infant mortality and support the Healthy Moms – Healthy Babies – Healthy Community initiative! There are many ways to get involved. If you’re as passionate as me about the health of our community, please take a moment to call Project Coordinator Marcy Paul at 817-735-0537 for more information.
Join me, and get involved today!