For every thousand live births, nine babies in Allen County die before their first birthday. The county’s infant mortality rate is higher than Indiana’s, and the state already has one of the worst rates in the country. McMillen Health launched a new mobile initiative Monday aimed at addressing this issue.
Allen County Health Commissioner Deb McMahan says many of these deaths can be avoided, which is why the website was created.
“We don’t have the issues that developing countries struggle with, in terms of infectious diseases and lack of access to care,” McMahan said.
McMahan says the infant mortality rate is significantly higher among African-American babies. About four times the number of black babies die before their first birthdays than the number of white babies.
McMahan says she isn’t sure why there is a discrepancy in infant mortality among different races, but the website aims to close that gap and bring down the rate among all races.
Preventable risk factors include smoking, stress, mental health issues like depression and anxiety, not receiving prenatal care, and inappropriate sleeping conditions for the baby.
The website connects Fort Wayne women to local resources to treat some of these risk factors. It provides information on where to receive free pregnancy tests, free smoking cessation programs, free apps to help track pregnancies, and where to find a doctor or sign up for insurance.
Funding for the project came from a $50,000 grant from Parkview Health.
For more information, go to babieslove.org.