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Activist moms group aims to reduce infant mortality

By Tim Sandle     Jan 22, 2017 in Health
Columbus - A new support group, comprised of activists and moms in Ohio, has been formed to help reduce the rate of infant mortality. The group Moms2B is a seeking to address the social disparities that affect infant death rates and ill-health.
Infant death (that is an infant dying within the first year of birth) is relatively low in advanced industrialized countries; however, the risks can never been completely eliminated. Where infant mortality occurs often the figures reveal complex social trends. This is the case in the U.S. where, despite a decline in infant deaths overall, the death rate remains twice as high for African Americans as it does for those classed as ethnically white.
The reason for this disparity between ethnic groups appears to reflect the communities that the groups live in and thus to economic factors, including poverty, especially food insecurity; poor housing; neighborhood and domestic violence; financial problems; addiction, including smoking, drugs, alcohol; and mental illness.
To address these concerns a new group has been formed, with the aim of assisting expectant women who live in high-risk neighborhoods in central Ohio. The group is made up of academics, health care providers, civic leaders and moms in the local area. The main aim of the group is to provide education and to foster support. This is in the form of a weekly, two-hour group session. As well as discussion, medical support is also on hand for the moms who attend. The program is called Moms2B.
The program, although still in the early stages, has been evaluated in Maternal Child Health Journal ("Improving Maternal and Infant Child Health Outcomes with Community-Based Pregnancy Support Groups: Outcomes from Moms2B Ohio"). The outcome of the evaluation is encouraging, with a fall in the death rate noted.
In reviewing this one of the academics behind the project, Dr. Patricia Gabbe, who is a professor of pediatrics and an infant mortality researcher at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, said in a statement to her university's website: "Our team examined maternal and infant health characteristics in an impoverished urban community before and after implementation of Moms2B." Here a five-fold reduction in the infant mortality rate was found.
The academic also reported on other measures of success: "We also saw an improvement in breastfeeding rates after the introduction of Moms2B. Teaching the pregnant and parenting woman was based on small, interactive messages, while fostering a two-way learning environment. We found that short, 10 to 15-minute discussions with good visual learning tools is the most effective way to engage and relate to our mothers. Colorful easy-to-read handouts are used with each lesson."
The next steps are to expand the program and to take it into new neighborhoods. There is also hope that other cities will establish similar schemes.
More about Infants, Babies, moratality, Moms
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