National Healthy Start Association Commemorates National Infant Mortality Awareness Month
September 01, 2011
Washington, DC - September is National Infant Mortality Awareness Month, a time to increase awareness of factors that contribute to infant mortality and urge community leaders to assist in efforts to meet the objective of reducing the rate of infant mortality in this country. Last September, National Healthy Start Association (NHSA) launched a new Infant Mortality Awareness campaign, Celebrate Day 366...Every Baby Deserves a Chance.Throughout the month of September, NHSA promotes the effectiveness of ongoing programs and efforts implemented to reduce infant deaths, low-birth weight, pre-term births and disparities in perinatal outcomes. The Celebrate Day 366...Every Baby Deserves a Chance campaign supports and inspires people from around the nation to take action in support of the Healthy People 2020 goal to improve the health and well-being of women, infants, children and families.
"While we take time annually, in September, to place special emphasis on the issue of infant mortality, it is important to remember this is an epidemic that faces hundreds of thousands of families every day," states Stacey D. Cunningham, Executive Director, NHSA. "That is why this campaign and the work we do within communities throughout the year is critical to the field of maternal and child health. We want to make sure that babies live beyond age 1, age 2, age 3 and so on. We want to make sure families have what they need to watch their babies not only grow up, but grow up healthy."
On the NHSA website, resources are available to help Healthy Start projects, community-based organizations, national organizations and the general public increase national awareness about infant mortality in the United States. There is a toolkit that includes promotional materials, suggested fundraising and advocacy activities, statistical resources and public relations and marketing tips. This year, NHSA created a new fact card on infant mortality that can easily be printed for distribution at events not just during the month of September, but throughout the year.
NHSA is also using innovative communications tools and social media to increase infant mortality messaging across the nation. From the NHSA website, the Celebrate Day 366 web badge can be downloaded to post on websites, blogs, and Facebook pages. The badge is linked directly to the NHSA "Raise Awareness" page to give all site visitors access to the Infant Mortality Awareness tools. NHSA will be Tweeting using the hashtags #InfantMortality and #NIMAM to help raise awareness. Twitter users are invited to follow NHSA @NatlHealthyStrt on Twitter and join in the conversation. For the month of September, NHSA's blog, Healthy from the Start will feature responses from the maternal and child health community answering the question, "Why do you feel it is important to raise awareness around infant mortality?" In addition, personal stories from Healthy Start Consumers will be shared.
September also marks the 20th Anniversary of the Federal Healthy Start Initiative. On September 12, 2011, NHSA will be hosting a congressional briefing to highlight the work of three Healthy Start projects who have demonstrated a reduction in their community's infant deaths, low-birth weight, pre-term births and disparities in perinatal outcomes. Invited speakers include the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) and Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB). During this briefing, NHSA will also release its newest publication, "Saving Our Nation's Babies: The Impact of The Federal Health Start Initiative," which focuses on the work of the overall Initiative and the Association.
"We believe that good health is essential to a quality life and that all people should have the opportunity to attain good health, including access to quality and affordable health care, says Estrelitta "Lo" Berry, President of the NHSA Board of Directors. "After almost 20 years, Healthy Start has successfully helped to improve birth outcomes across the nation, assisting more than 500,000 women and families, who are typically regarded as helpless and disadvantaged, to use their natural strengths and abilities to love, nurture and protect their families."
If you would like to learn more about the Celebrate Day 366...Every Baby Deserves a Chance campaign, gather resources to spread infant mortality awareness throughout your communities or learn more about what NHSA and Healthy Start projects are doing to commemorate the month, please contact NHSA at 202-296-2195 or visit the website.
About the National Healthy Start Association
The National Healthy Start Association (NHSA) is a nationwide membership association and primarily serves the federally funded Healthy Start Projects in 38 states, District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. The mission of NHSA is to be the nation's voice in providing leadership and advocacy for health equity services and interventions that improve birth outcomes and family wellbeing. As part of its mission, NHSA aims to be an effective advocate in policies and programs that improve the health status of women, infants and families and strengthen the capacity of Healthy Start programs and community-based MCH organizations nationwide. For information, visit the NHSA website or contact the national office at 202-296-2195.