Bridging the Great Health Divide: New resources to lower infant mortality rate in the Mo. Bootheel

Published: Aug. 9, 2021 at 9:03 PM CDT
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SOUTHEAST Mo. (KFVS) - Non-profit organizations in the Bootheel can now get more money to help lower the region’s infant mortality rate.

A local organization’s efforts gives more resources to the community.

”The resources in the bootheel aren’t as robust as they would be in an urban area,” said Tracy Morrow, executive director of Bootheel Babies and families.

A new grant from the Missouri Foundation for Health and Bootheel Babies and families can help offer more resources to non-profits in the region.

Morrow explained how a $3.25-million grant can help lower the Bootheel’s infant mortality rate.

“What BBF wants to do is to create aligned partners to work with us we want to be able to break down some of the silos that we’ve worked in in the past and we want to be able to share our resources so that the money that we have goes further and we aren’t duplicating services,” said Morrow.

The Fresh Start Self-Improvement Center in Charleston is using some of the grant funding to provide more resources for the community with its fresh stable start program.

“The program was actually designed to be able to monitor and be a resource to pregnant ladies, we’ve applied for coverage for 30 women to participate in the program and that’ll be from pre-natal care all the way through the first 12 months of the child’s life,” said Marcella Woodson, program director.

The infant mortality rate in Missouri is 6.1 and 6.0 in the Bootheel, according to Morrow.

Woodson said lack of education and awareness can contribute to the high infant mortality rate.

This new program will help educate the public through workshops to reduce it.

“We have SIDS, healthcare, even getting back into the workforce and education after having a child, choosing proper childcare, proper pre-natal care. We break it all the way down to the importance of mental health awareness and proper self-care,” said Woodson.

Morrow encouraged organizations to ask their county hub task forces if their organization can receive some funding.

“If you have a project that may not seem like it is directly related to infant mortality, there are times when work that you do with the parent of course directly involves the child so if you have a thought or an idea for a project, reach out to your hubs to see if that would align with their work,” said Morrow.

The Fresh Start Self-Improvement Center will hold a community listening session later this month to start getting the word out about the Infant Mortality program.

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