'Cradle Cincinnati' hopes to improve infant mortality

'Cradle Cincinnati' hopes to improve infant mortality
Gordon Graham/FOX19
Gordon Graham/FOX19

UNIVERSITY HEIGHTS, OH (FOX19) - Hamilton County's infant mortality rate remains among the highest in the nation but a local health care initiative aims to change that.

One year after its inception, "Cradle Cincinnati" is better funded and has a strategic plan.

At the University of Cincinnati Medical Center's neonatal intensive care unit, they take of the most fragile babies but it's hoped that through Cradle Cincinnati the number of babies born prematurely will go down.

Cradle Cincinnati Co-chair Todd Portune announced Thursday that the initiative's budget has grown five fold.

"Our first year's budget of a little more than $250,000 dollars is now for the coming year is now $1.3 million," he said.

And that will help fund education programs.

"We've got to educate moms and potential moms how important prenatal care is and how important the care of their own self is, their own physical health," Portune said.

Andrea Brown became a fighter in the war against infant mortality after her daughter Elise died of SIDS last year but she now has a healthy daughter Emma.  

"We wanted to make sure it didn't happen to anyone else," Brown said. "We wanted to take the steps to help prevent it as much as possible so that everyone can have a little one like this."

The initiative concentrates on some simple ways to keep babies healthy such as spacing between births, smoking and secondhand smoke.

And post-partum follow up visits are also important.

UC Medical Center and other area health care providers offer a variety of programs for expectant and new mothers in hopes that infant mortality will become a thing of the past.

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