Baby Blossoms Collaborative (BBC) Preconception Health Program- Now and Beyond
Population: Women & Maternal
Topic Area: Access to Quality Healthcare Birth Outcomes
From 2003-2006, the overall infant mortality rate for Douglas County dropped to 6.5 per 1,000 live births compared to the 7.6 average for 1999-2003. However, the rate for African Americans remained higher at 13.8 versus 4.9 for non-Hispanic whites during the 2003-2006 period. The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services reported in 2006 that the infant mortality rate for African Americans in Nebraska remained twice the rate for white babies. Frustrated by stagnate statistics and a widening health disparity gap, local agencies partnered to create the Baby Blossoms Collaborative (BBC). BBC used a process known as the Perinatal Periods of Risk (PPOR) to understand the contribution of key components of fetal-infant mortality. PPOR was created by Dr. Brian McCarthy and colleagues at the CDC and the World Health Organization, and adapted by CityMatCH through funding by March of Dimes, CDC and the Maternal and Child Health Bureau. The findings from this research have been incorporated into a community based strategic plan, “Blue Print for Action.” These findings identified three areas of concern: maternal health/prematurity, maternal health, and infant health. The collaborative then began the task of developing clear vision, goals and objectives to attack the longstanding problem of infant mortality. The collaborative developed two primary objectives; examining the root causes of infant deaths, and unifying and enhancing existing health efforts. The BBC’s overall goal is to improve the health of women and infants by eliminating disparities and reducing fetal infant mortality in Douglas County. In the area of maternal health/prematurity, the sheer number of babies born at dangerously low birth weight contributes significantly to the infant mortality rate (61% of all very low birth weight deaths can be attributed to this finding). In 2005, the Douglas County Health Department (DCHD) received Title V funding for a preconception health program entitled Now and Beyond, which educated women about the importance of a healthy lifestyle and the value of planning a pregnancy. Seven sites were trained and 80 women were educated. These women set goals for healthier lifestyles and were followed up at 1, 3, 6 and 9 month intervals.
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