Reducing Infant Mortality in Franklin County

Only two U.S. states have higher infant mortality rates than Ohio, and Central Ohio has one the highest rates in the state. In real terms, that means three Franklin County families lose a baby before its first birthday each and every week.

The Greater Columbus Infant Mortality Task Force is making a concerted effort to change those statistics, and with the support of the Foundation, Mount Carmel is championing a number of programs that are making a difference.

One is called Welcome Home, which provides a free, home visit by a nurse for all babies and moms who deliver at Mount Carmel. In addition to health checks, the nurse provides education and support on safe sleep, breastfeeding and infant development and makes referrals to community support programs. Last year, Welcome Home made over 1,300 home visits — seven of which detected major issues that saved a child’s life.

The Foundation also supports Moms2B, a program developed by OSU and expanded to Mount Carmel West last year to combat the higher-than-normal infant mortality rate in Franklinton. The program provides free education, nutrition support and nurturing to help expectant moms deliver healthy full-term babies and keep them healthy through their first year of life.

Mount Carmel is also developing a new Birthing & Lactation Education Center at St. Ann’s to meet the growing need for infant health and education resources in Columbus’ northeast communities.

Together, thanks to Foundation funding, they’re changing the lives of hundreds of Franklin County families each year and for years to come.

This article was originally published in the 2014 Annual Report to the Community.