Wednesday, March 24, 1999

Butler, Dearborn counties show increased mortality rates

        Butler and Dearborn counties were the only two of the Tristate area's eight counties to show increases in the infant mortality rates between 1996 and 1997.

        In Dearborn County, four infants died in 1997, out of 639 live births (a rate of 6.3 for every 1,000 live births).

        Butler's rate increased from 6.8 to 7.8 (35 deaths in 1997; 30 in 1996), but health professionals there say at-risk moms could get more help thanks to the Every Child Succeeds initiative of the United Way & Community Chest in Cincinnati.

        Butler County Early Start, a family crisis-prevention program in which registered nurses visit at-risk mothers and children at home, is one of an estimated 25 home-visitation programs planning to join Every Child Succeeds. With Every Child Succeeds, at-risk mothers would receive an additional 25 to 30 visits before and after giving birth.

        Already, Early Start has formed partnerships with prenatal clinics at Middletown Regional Hospital and the Planned Parenthood Center in Hamilton.

        One of their goals is to reduce the number of Butler County women who smoke during pregnancy, estimated at 25 percent between 1990 and 1995.

        “We know too many of our prenatal patients smoke,” said Beverlyn Chapple, prenatal coordinator for Planned Parenthood. “We counsel them when we see them for their prenatal appointments, but without constant support it is difficult.”

        Early Start information is available by calling 867-1604. —Mark Curnutte


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