Fresno, CA—A startling fact: The infant mortality rate among African-American babies is beyond a state of crisis; African Americans have more than two times the infant mortality rate as non-Hispanic whites, according to the Office of Minority Health Resource Center. The same source also lists the following upsetting facts:
African American infants are 3.2 times as likely to die from complications related to low birthweight as compared to non-Hispanic white infants.
African Americans had over twice the sudden infant death syndrome (SID) mortality rate as non-Hispanic whites, in 2014.
In 2014, African American mothers were 2.2 times more likely than non-Hispanic white mothers to receive late or no prenatal care.
What’s more puzzling?
Many people in general are still very oblivious to these appalling facts until they are one of the above statistics or related to someone who is one.
In Fresno County, one key intensive program is working to be part of the solution by directly helping African-American mothers, using a collaborative hands-on approach.
Since 1991, the Fresno County Department of Public Health’s Black Infant Health (BIH) Program, one of 17 BIH programs in California, has worked to decrease the infant mortality rate in the African-American community. Infant mortality refers to the death of infants before their first birthday. It is expressed as a rate by the number of infant deaths per 1,000 live births in the same year.
Fresno BIH is launching an intensive 6-month online campaign to reach as many pregnant African-American mothers from all age ranges and backgrounds to join their program or be aware of the services and information they provide for pregnant mothers.
What best way to reach other expecting mothers?
By featuring the real stories of African-American pregnant mothers who have suffered loss from the lack of prenatal knowledge, feared public opinion due to their ages, and experienced the benefits of getting assistance through Fresno BIH.
Each week a new 2-minute video clip is posted to Fresno BIH’s interactive social media player, where five mothers will tell their stories, share their tips, and talk about the different services through BIH that have helped them.
The shareable social media player (Facebook, Twitter, email) also contains prenatal information, how to sign up for Fresno BIH and an exclusive online 24/7 TV channel featuring prenatal and black infant health information videos.
Fresno BIH’s series starts off with Ronika Hayden, who openly talks about her child dying from SIDs.
SIDs occurs suddenly and unexpectedly to infants who appear perfectly healthy. Some people call SIDs “crib death,” but cribs do not cause SIDs. SIDs is the most common cause of death for babies from one month to one year of age.
It is the hope that the stories from these mothers will help viewers who can share the video and social media player with their pregnant relatives, friends, siblings or themselves who need prenatal care and information.
Watch Part 1 of Ronika's story below!