Healthy Start Coalition promoting National Infant Mortality Awareness Month
The month of September has been dedicated as the National Infant Mortality Awareness Month to educate mothers about preventative care.
Healthy Start Coalition of Southwest Florida Operations Manager Kay Jasso said this year is the first time the organization has joined the national awareness month activities.
“We are trying to raise awareness locally,” Jasso said.
In 2008, there were 155 deaths or stillborn babies in Southwest Florida, she said.
Most premature births and infant deaths are due to the health of the mother, Jasso said.
“The faster we can get the mom in for prenatal care, the healthier the baby will be,” she said.
If a mother does not have medical care, Jasso said Healthy Start will provide that for them.
Jasso said Healthy Start Care coordinators also provide guidance for moms.
“Many are first-time moms, young mothers, homeless or they may be high risk due to diabetes and they need extra counseling,” she said.
On Sept. 23, a Pinwheel Memorial Garden Dedication Ceremony will be held at the Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida at 12:30 p.m. and the North Naples Community Hospital BIrthing Center at 4 p.m.
Veteran newscaster Patrick Comer will be on hand to conduct the ceremonies, and Kyra Oliver, from the Hayes Foundation, will speak about the Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.
The Pinwheel Memorial Gardens is being held to honor the memory of babies who have died in Southwest Florida and to raise awareness about infant mortality, Jasso said.
“For a donation of $1, we will plant one pinwheel in a memorial garden,” she said. “We hope to plant 1,000 pinwheels at each location.”
On Sept. 24, the Golden Baby Shoe Award will honor outstanding leaders who are dedicated to improving the health and well-being of mothers and babies. Tickets for the luncheon, which will be held at The Club at Grandezza in Estero, are $25.
Jasso said they will be accepting nominations for health care professionals or social service professionals until Sept. 10.
The applications can be found online at www.healthystartswfl.com. She said the criteria for the nominations entails that the individual should have a positive impact on improving the health of mothers and babies.
Healthy Start, a 501c3 non-profit organization, began serving Lee, Collier, Glades and Hendry counties in 1992. Its mission is to improve the health of pregnant mothers through preventative care, reduce the number of infant deaths and the number of premature or low birth babies.
For information, call 239-425-6920.