It is startling to find out that the United States ranks 29th amongst industrialized nations in terms of our infant mortality rate…that’s right 29th! Wait-it doesn’t stop there-did you know that African Americans have 2.3 times the infant mortality rate as non-Hispanic Whites? Also-more than one million babies die each year because they are born prematurely and about 13 million babies are born too soon according to the March of Dimes. I think I will stop there for now-its a bit too much to take in all at once.
The National Healthy Start Association has sponsored a campaign to raise awareness about this issue and has designated September as National Infant Mortality Awareness Month. I knew that our numbers were not great but I work in the field-I make it my business to know whats happening to and with women and children around the world. Think about how many American’s do not know these statistics-think about how many of us are in the dark! The numbers are astounding and to put it quite simply-unacceptable.
I am writing this blog to ask you all for your help in getting the word out. To make this task easier the Healthy Start Association has put together a toolkit originally designed to assist federally funded public health organizations however if you look it over you will discover many ideas for those of us who are working at a grassroots level in our own communities. The toolkit can be adapted for our use. It includes background information and statistics, ideas for fundraising, advocacy tips, plans for working with the media, as well as public relations and marketing-there are also sample letters to send to the editor of your local paper and/or state representatives.
Change will only come when we ask for it. Thanks for your help! Please come back and post-let us know what action you took in your community.
“A small group of thoughtful people could change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”
About Simone Snyder