Groups work to prevent infant mortality - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Groups work to prevent infant mortality

(WMC-TV) - This month, doctors, nurses and community agencies are putting a special focus on infant mortality and what can be done to prevent the problem.

September is Infant Mortality Awareness Month, with the goal of encouraging more people to learn about what causes many infant deaths and get involved in prevention.

So far this year, 63 babies in Shelby County have died before their first birthday.

Wednesday, Keisha Walker at the Urban Child Institute said some of the reasons include low birth weight and poor nutrition.

"I know at one time our rate was compared to that of a third world country," she said.

Staffers at Memphis' Urban Child Institute are working with organizations from health agencies to community groups, to churches to create awareness about infant mortality.

"Of course we have a long way to go but we're making some progress," the institute's Nicole Gates said.

For staffers at the institute, the key is awareness - helping everyone understand that early pre-natal care is the key to babies being born healthy.
   
"Start talking about these issues right in the home at the dinner table in your casual conversation," Walker said.

Gates added that it is ok to approach an expectant mother if you see her doing something unhealthy.

"Is it ok for me to say something to her? Of course it is, but it's the manner in which you say it," she said.

According to Walker and Gates, not only is the goal to make mothers more aware, it is to make other members of the family understand factors that impact an infant's life.

"The fathers, the boyfriends, the uncles...all of these folks are key components," she said.

To learn more about the Urban Child Institute, click here: http://www.theurbanchildinstitute.org

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