Sixth Annual Infant Mortality Walk to Remember set for September 13, 2018 (Health Information)
September is Infant Mortality Awareness Month and is the time of year that we remember babies who were born alive but did not live long enough to celebrate their first birthday. We honor those mothers and families who never had the opportunity to plan a first birthday party. On September 13, 2018, 52 empty strollers will be pushed through downtown Greensboro, to represent each baby that died last year. This year’s Walk to Remember will begin at the Phil G. McDonald Governmental Plaza (February One Place and Greene Street in Greensboro) at 11:00 a.m. The Guilford Coalition on Infant Mortality is partnering with Partners of Public Health Coalition and North Carolina Baby Love Plus to sponsor this event. Mayor Nancy Vaughan and Guilford County Commissioner Carlvena Foster will provide opening remarks.
Guilford County lost 52 babies in 2016. Guilford County is fortunate that all women have access to prenatal care through private insurance, Medicaid or the Adopt-A-Mom Program (safety net for women who are Medicaid ineligible and lack resources to pay for prenatal care). Women who give birth without the benefit of prenatal care are three times more likely to deliver a low birth weight baby – a leading cause of Infant mortality in Guilford County. Low birth weight is a key indicator for morbidity as well as lifelong developmental challenges, cognitive development and intellectual performance.
Preconception health and prenatal care for pregnant women must be the standard. “Healthy women are more likely to give birth to healthy babies, so let’s support women before they get pregnant to celebrate being a healthy mother when they are ready”, says Charmaine Purdum, Coordinator for the Guilford County Coalition on Infant Mortality. All women of child bearing age should consume 400 micrograms of Folic Acid daily to prepare their body for possibly being a mother in the future. Families need to plan and space their children two years apart for optimum health, as well as obtain early and adequate prenatal care once pregnant. Healthy food choices, moving more and helping pregnant women to abstain from alcohol, tobacco and exposure to second hand smoke are messages we should share throughout the year. Children should be placed on their back to sleep and properly immunized against preventable diseases. All children should be restrained properly in child safety seats while riding in a car and children should never be left unattended in a vehicle, regardless of the outside temperature.
Babies truly are our future, and as a community, we must work together to ensure a healthy and bright future for all. Let us forever remember these precious lives cut short, and vow to keep infant mortality awareness at the forefront, not only in September, but all year long in the effort to save our babies.
For more information on reducing infant mortality including programs and services for women, contact Guilford County Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Division at 336-641-7777.
Submitted by Charmaine Purdum, Guilford County Coalition on Infant Mortality Coordinator