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Cobb & Douglas Public Health Releases FY23 Annual Report

Cobb & Douglas Public Health (CDPH) is pleased to announce the release of its FY23 Annual Report. The report offers an overview of the agency’s financial and non-financial performance and highlights several key achievements. The report also details the work of...

Cobb & Douglas Public Health’s Healthy Start Program Sheds Light on Infant Mortality

Cobb & Douglas Public Health | September 19, 2023
Cobb & Douglas Public Health - Healthy Start

Cobb & Douglas Public Health is proud to support National Infant Mortality Month this September. This important observance aims to shed light on the critical issue of infant mortality, provide education and resources, and ultimately work towards reducing the number of infant deaths in our community.

Infant mortality remains a significant concern not only in Cobb and Douglas Counties, but across the nation. Every year, countless families are devastated by the loss of precious young lives. With September designated as Infant Mortality Month, Cobb & Douglas Public Health aims to raise awareness, share vital information, and promote preventive measures that can help ensure a healthier future for our youngest residents.

Healthy Start is a no-cost program that serves mainly pregnant Black or African American women, men, and children 0-18 months, in Cobb and Douglas counties, no matter their marital or economic status. The best candidates for Healthy Start are less than 28 weeks pregnant, but you are eligible at any point during your pregnancy. Since 2019 the program has served more than 1,750 women, men and children 0-18 months; has made more than 8,200 encounters; has connected participants to thousands of community services; has experienced an infant mortality rate of 0 babies for three of four years; and hasn’t lost a single mother to pregnancy-related complications.

Healthy Start recognizes the importance of ensuring every mother and infant receives the care they need during the prenatal, postnatal, and early childhood stages. By addressing the unique social service and medical challenges faced by at-risk populations, the program aims to reduce disparities in maternal and infant health and improve overall health outcomes.

From 2019 to 2022, Black or African American babies in Cobb and Douglas County had a total of 120 infant deaths (State of Georgia’s Online Analytical Statistical Information System) This represents 54% of the 220 total reported all infant deaths during the same time period. The National Healthy Start Maternal and Child Health Bureau Database reported in 2022 that Cobb County had an infant mortality rate (IMR= the number of infant deaths for every 1,000 live births) of 10.2, while Douglas County had an IMR of 9.2. When we compared the rates for Cobb and Douglas County to the National IMR (5.55 in 2022), Cobb and Douglas County are almost two times the national average.

Through programs at Cobb and Douglas Public Health including Healthy Start, eligible women, men and families access an array of services that encompass prenatal care, childbirth education, parenting classes, breastfeeding support, safe sleep education, nutrition counseling, access to health insurance and mental health services. These comprehensive resources are designed to empower mothers, fathers and families with the tools and knowledge they need to provide a healthy start for their infants.

Healthy Start emphasizes a holistic approach, recognizing that the health and well-being of both parents and infants are interconnected. By providing ongoing support, education, and ensuring access to vital healthcare services, Cobb & Douglas Public Health hopes to increase positive birth outcomes, improve maternal health, and enhance the overall quality of life for families.

To facilitate an equitable and inclusive approach, Healthy Start has partnerships with local healthcare providers, community organizations, and social service agencies through their Community Action Network. Through these collaborations, the Healthy Start Program can effectively address the various determinants of health, including socioeconomic factors, cultural barriers, and systemic inequalities that contribute to infant morbidity and mortality.

Learn more about Healthy Start Program.