• By Todd Luck
  • Posted Friday, March 15, 2024

Guilford and Forsyth Counties Unite in Joint Efforts for Infant Mortality Reduction Programs

The Forsyth County Department of Public Health is receiving a state grant and technical assistance from the Guilford County Division of Public Health to implement six evidence-based programs to reduce infant mortality.

Infant mortality is when a baby, who is born alive, dies before their first birthday. Guilford Public Health received a two-year $500,000 grant for infant mortality reduction from NC HHS’ Improving Community Outcomes for Maternal and Child Health program. From that grant, Guilford is providing approximately $206,000 to Forsyth County Public Health. The grant funds six programs already in action in Guilford County, which will be replicated in Forsyth, with the goal of improving birth outcomes, reducing infant mortality and improving health among children aged 0-5.

“The Improving Community Outcomes for Maternal Child Health is a game changer for improving birth outcomes and promoting maternal health in Forsyth County,” said Forsyth County Public Health Director Joshua Swift.

These six programs include promoting the mental health and well-being of those who are pregnant through the Mothers and Babies curriculum, expanding the Positive Parenting Program (Triple P), utilizing a Community Health Worker model to widely disseminate grassroots health education information, implementing the Preconception Peer Education Program on college campuses and promoting breastfeeding practices in marginalized communities, as well as achieving breast feeding friendly workplaces.

The 2019-2021 infant mortality rate in Forsyth County was 8.4 per 1,000 births and in Guilford County it was 8.2. Both counties remain in the top five in the state for infant mortality rates. In Guilford County, black infant deaths make up 64% of total infant deaths and in Forsyth County they were 56%.

The grant supports the infant mortality reduction efforts of both Every Baby Guilford and the Forsyth County Infant Mortality Reduction Coalition, which work to reduce infant mortality in their respective communities.

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