Infant Mortality Awareness Month Sheds Light on Growing National Healthcare Crisis
NICHQ today announced the launch of its annual campaign to combat infant mortality in conjunction with Infant Mortality Awareness Month. Throughout the month of September, NICHQ will continue its efforts to bring awareness to the shockingly high infant mortality rate in the United States while helping empower women to prepare for healthy pregnancies that result in healthy children.
The infant mortality rate reflects the health and well-being of a nation and according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the United States ranks 25th among industrialized countries. For every 1,000 babies born in the U.S., about six will die before their first birthday. In 2014, this translated to 23,215 U.S. infant deaths – that’s enough children to fill 1,000 kindergarten classrooms. With an integrated approach that addresses both social and health issues, we can all do our part to reduce the infant mortality rate.
The ongoing NICHQ and U.S. Maternal and Child Health Bureau-lead Collaborative Improvement and Innovation Network to Reduce Infant Mortality (Infant Mortality CoIIN), a multiyear national movement that engages federal, state, and local leaders, public and private agencies, professionals, and communities, was launched in 2013 to employ quality improvement, innovation and collaborative learning to reduce infant mortality and improve birth outcomes. The Infant Mortality CoIIN has focused on six strategies to improve outcomes for pregnant women and infants, including: smoking cessation, pre/interconception care, safe sleep, social determinants of health, preterm and early term births, and risk-appropriate perinatal care.
“The extraordinarily high infant mortality rate in the U.S. compared with the rest of the industrialized world is unacceptable,” said Scott D. Berns, MD, MPH, FAAP, president and CEO of NICHQ. “The health of mothers and babies should be of paramount importance, and while we’ve made some progress, the numbers are still far too high. We can all do our part together to help prevent these deaths by empowering women with the information they need to be as healthy as possible before pregnancy.”
This year’s campaign focuses specifically on raising awareness about pre/interconception care. Infant mortality and pregnancy-related health are affected by a host of social and medical factors, particularly those that influence a woman's health before, during and after pregnancy. There are several ways to reduce infant mortality through improving women’s health, including:
- Regular preventive visits with a healthcare provider to establish a continuum of good healthcare.
- Preconception care creates a healthy, safe lifestyle prior to pregnancy. The most impactful and most controllable predictor of a baby’s health is the health of the mother. When women feel empowered to take control of their own health, they create a much higher likelihood of a healthy pregnancy. Preconception care plays an important role in lowering both maternal and infant mortality rates, as it promotes women’s health before conception and ultimately results in a healthier baby and improved birth and pregnancy-related outcomes both for the mother and her baby.
- Interconception care, particularly the importance of access to contraception during the postpartum period to support healthy birth spacing, ensures physical recovery, better birth outcomes, and healthier babies. Unhealthy birth spacing is linked to low birthweight, can also exacerbate financial hardship, and is a known risk factor for preterm birth, a leading cause of infant mortality and contributor to long-term health problems.
In 2012, the Infant Mortality CoIIN began as a HRSA-funded regionally-based initiative in the 13 southern states. By 2014, IM CoIIN expanded to the remaining states and jurisdictions to focus on national collaboration. NICHQ and its partners are supporting these states and jurisdictions to incorporate quality improvement principles into their work, and support their efforts with data infrastructure and continuous expert technical assistance. As a key leader of the Infant Mortality CoIIN, NICHQ is breaking barriers to create local and national awareness around health and social strategies to reduce the nation’s infant mortality rate.
NICHQ and the National Healthy Start Association Partner to Provide Technical Assistance and Capacity Building Assistance to Healthy Start Grant Recipients
The National Institute for Children’s Health Quality (NICHQ) and the National Healthy Start Association (NHSA) are proud to announce that they have been selected by the Health Resources and Services Administration, Maternal and Child Health Bureau to lead the Supporting Healthy Start Performance Project.
NICHQ Announces Exploration of Preterm Birth Rates
NICHQ is honored to announce a new initiative, funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, that seeks to better understand how state-level systems change may help lower preterm birth rates.
NICHQ Selected to Manage Content for National Newborn Screening Website
NICHQ is proud to announce that it has been selected by the Health Resources and Services Administration to manage all content for a new comprehensive web-based clearinghouse.
NICHQ Chosen to Lead National Action Partnership to Promote Safe Sleep Improvement and Innovation Network
The Maternal and Child Health Bureau has chosen NICHQ to lead a national initiative aimed at making infant safe sleep and breastfeeding the national norm. The five-year National Action Partnership to Promote Safe Sleep Improvement and Innovation Network (NAPPSS-IIN) engages champions within the systems that intersect with infant caregivers and families at risk to disseminate infant safe sleep and breastfeeding messages.
Infant Mortality Rate Drops 15%
As the leader of a multi-year, national initiative to reduce infant mortality rates and disparities across populations, NICHQ is heartened by the announcement March 21 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that U.S. infant mortality rates have decreased 15 percent from 2005 to 2014. The report also shows the U.S. infant mortality rate reached new lows for almost all populations.
National Initiative to Reduce Infant Mortality Extended
NICHQ's flagship collaborative improvement and innovation network (CoIIN) initiative focused on reducing infant mortality rates, known as the Infant Mortality CoIIN, has been extended by one year, through September 2017. The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) prolonged their funded initiative to support states in their improvement efforts including data collection and the dissemination of lessons learned.