June 5, 2008
Healthy Start is fortunate to have community partners like the Jackson County Quilter’s Guild. They have graciously donated 19 baby quilts for babies in Neo-natal Intensive Care Units. These threads of hope are quilts made up of time and fabric donated to little ones struggling for each new day.
During 2004-2006 Jackson County experienced a rate of 10.3% for low birth weight babies. The State rate was 8.7%, so you can clearly see there is work to be done to reduce the number of low birth weight babies in Jackson County. The Premature birth rate for babies born before 37 weeks gestation was 16.1% with the State rate of 14.1%*. We have to keep them baking in mother’s oven for as long as we can; God put babies in the oven for 40 weeks with reason! Janet Spink, Executive Director for Chipola Healthy Start says, "I know it sounds like a cliché but, plain and simply, it’s the truth".
The goal of Chipola Healthy Start is to ensure that mothers give birth to healthy, full term infants and those infants remain healthy from birth to age three.
Healthy Start is open to all pregnant women in Florida or to women of infants from birth to age three. Florida Statues mandate physicians to screen pregnant women for risks associated with infant death or to evaluate whether or not a woman is at risk to deliver a low birth baby. After a woman has answered the questions about their risks, physicians will "score" the screen. Women who have a score of four or more on their Healthy Start Prenatal Screen will then be referred for services.
If the pregnant woman does not score into the program, but would like services, they can either self-refer or if the physician feels that a service, like childbirth education, would be beneficial then a referral for services can be made from that provider and services can begin. Healthy Start provides information to pregnant women to reduce the possibility of infant death to low birth weight babies. These services can include breastfeeding how-to’s with support, car seat safety, and good nutrition before, during and after pregnancy, safe sleeping practices for your infant and help with coping skills for new parents. Your income level is not taken into consideration for Healthy Start services. Pregnant women of all ages, ethnic groups and income levels are welcome.
Infant deaths are extremely difficult for families to endure. We believe that infant deaths happen far too often. If you or someone you know has experienced such a loss, you know this is true. Chipola Healthy Start has a program that looks at individual infant death cases in Calhoun, Holmes, Jackson, Liberty and Washington Counties.
Each case is addressed to find social, economic or physical factors that can attribute to infants deaths within our communities. The program titled, Fetal and Infant Mortality Review (FIMR) meets with medical professionals, community support services, and social programs in efforts to reduce the number of deaths for our rural population. But with smoking rates being almost four times that of the State, poor eating habits associated with obesity and lack of early and consistent medical care in the first trimester, we are seeing little results from outreach to our communities.
Chipola Healthy Start is always in need of donations, volunteers, or services. With rising gas prices, officials feel certain that many families will have to do without some things the baby needs. Let’s do what we can to help them with diapers, a crib, layette sets, or donations.
Chipola Healthy Start is located at 2840 Jefferson Street, 2nd floor of the Nearing Court Building, or you may call 482-1236 if you or someone you know would like to volunteer or donate. You may also use this number if you need help and we will be glad to assist you or find the appropriate resource in the Jackson County community.
*Data Source: Florida Department of Health, Jackson County Health Profile Report 10/23/2007