Thursday, February 10, 2005
Governor releases infant mortality interim report
An interim report from Delaware’s Infant Mortality Task Force cites persistent racial disparities in healthcare and social supports among factors contributing to the state’s high rate of infant deaths. The report, released last week by Gov. Ruth Ann Minner, says there are “persistent disparities” in the healthcare and social supports for African-American mothers, which put them at greater risk of delivering low or very low birth-weight babies. Those low or very low birth-weight babies, in turn, are at higher risk of dying before they reach their first birthday. Delaware’s infant mortality rate is 9.2 deaths per 1,000 live births, compared to a national rate of seven deaths per 1,000 live births. Gov. Minner established the Infant Mortality Task Force in June 2004 to find ways to reduce the death rate. The interim report released today is a status update on the Task Force’s work. The Task Force will issue its final report, including specific recommendations, in March. The interim report is based on the Task Force’s research to date and requests for input from nearly 3,000 Delawareans. Using the information in the interim report, the Task Force will now develop specific recommendations for action to reduce infant mortality. Those specific recommendations will be the foundation for the Task Force’s final report. The areas the Task Force has set forth in the interim report include:
  • Insurance coverage waiting periods for pregnant women.
  • Social support for mothers of color living under high stress.
  • Education for women about their pre-conception health status.
  • An income-based Medicaid Family Planning Waiver.
  • Drug counseling for women.
  • A Fetal Infant Mortality Review program.
  • Successful evidence-based programs from other states.
  • Adolescent pregnancy prevention activities.
  • Access to preventive and acute health care for low-income women.
  • Smoking cessation for pregnant women. Dr. Jaime Rivera and Alvin Snyder, task force co-chairs, said the final report will address disparities in birth outcomes and include recommendations to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of clinical and administrative practices, and access to and the performance of the maternal and child health preventive health systems. “It will address weaknesses in our systems of care, as well as provide recommendations for strengthening our data collection and monitoring functions,” Rivera said. Minner said she looks forward to the final report with the expectation that it would provide the basis for aggressive action to reduce Delaware’s infant mortality rate. Minner highlighted the work of the Infant Mortality Task Force in her State of the State address and has allocated $100,000 toward implementing the recommendations of the task force in her proposed budget for the fiscal year that starts July 1.
  • Nanticoke plans three cholesterol screening dates
    Nanticoke Memorial Hospital will be offering cholesterol screenings on Feb. 14, 19 and 23, from 7:30-10:30 a.m., at the Nanticoke Stein Highway building, located in the former PK complex, next to County Bank. Participants will have the opportunity to select from two types of blood tests. One option is a Total Cholesterol test, which is a non-fasting blood test that will read the total cholesterol level. The cost is $5. The second option is a Lipid Profile test, which requires a 12-hour fasting and reads the HDL and LDL blood levels. Cost for the Lipid Profile is $15. No appointment is necessary. In addition to the cholesterol screening free blood pressure checks will be offered. Results from the cholesterol screening will be mailed approximately three weeks after the test is performed. For additional information, call 629-6611, ext. 2404.