The YWCA, with support from the Hospital Council of Northwest Ohio, has taken steps to address infant mortality in Lucas County. Not only is Lucas County’s infant mortality rate higher than Ohio’s statewide average, but the mortality rate for African-American infants is more than twice that of Caucasian children.
There are a number of explanations about why women of color experience higher rates of infant mortality, says YWCA Associate Executive Officer Shelly Ulrich. “Mothers’ lack of access to medical care during pregnancy and after a child’s birth is certainly one of the major factors,” says Ulrich, “but so, too, is the lack of awareness about good prenatal and perinatal health practices.”
Late in the summer, the YWCA added a Community Health Worker to assist women of color in accessing health care and becoming aware of health practices that improves infant viability in the first and second years of life.