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State grants aim to lower infant mortality in First State

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Joe Irizarry
/
Delaware Public Media

Six community-based organizations are getting mini-grants from the state to help reduce infant mortality and morbidity in Delaware’s African-American population.

 

The Division of Public Health and the Delaware Healthy Mother and Infant Consortium is providing the group a total of $327,925 to tackle the issue.

 

In Delaware, more than twice as many black infants die before their first birthday than white infants.  Between 2014 and 2017, there were 12.5 black infant deaths per 100,000 live births compared to 5.1 white infant deaths.

 

The first round of mini-grants seek to reduce those numbers and narrow the wide variance in birth outcomes between black women and white women.

Division of Public Health Director Karyl Rattay said these grants will allow the organizations to approach the situation differently.

 

"This grant and this approach is leading all these organizations to think a little bit differently and about how they're serving women and how they're serving communities," said Rattay.

Lt. Governor Bethany Hall-Long explained how the grants can affect real change.

 

“The Division of Public Health and the Healthy Mothers and Infant Consortium have recognized in order to make a change at the doorstep, you have to have people who look like you in the community and so these groups and organizations they understand the community and they come in and people trust them and having the trust to be able to get those resources to people when they need it and beforehand.," said Hall-Long.

Mini-grant recipients include the Delaware Adolescent Program Inc., Reach Riverside Development Corporation, the Rose Hill Community Center, Delaware Coalition Against Domestic Violence, the Delaware Multicultural and Civic Organization and the Hispanic Association of Delaware.

Hall-Long added these groups will work hard within their communities to improve infant death numbers.

"Those six recipients of these grants are going to touch people not only at the dinner table but in the community getting them not only employment and transportation but working really hard to make sure that those disparities hopefully are eliminated because again your ZIP code has become more important than your genetic code in these situations and so we really want to work hard to address that." 

Rattay said these groups will try to tackle issues tied to infant

mortality, such as access to healthcare services, poverty, racism, housing and education.

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