(Above) Tiffany suffered from chronic pain and relied on the emergency room as her primary form of health care. Though a United Way partnership, Tiffany got connected to primary and specialty care services and gave birth to a healthy baby girl, Tameka.
At United Way, we tackle tough problems, the ones that can’t be solved overnight. The ones nobody talks about at cocktail parties.
From 2015-2017, Milwaukee’s overall infant mortality rate was 10.4 infant deaths per 1,000 babies born. The rate among white babies was 5.1, while the rate for African American babies was 15.4 per 1,000 births. The majority (nearly 60%) of infant deaths are caused by premature birth – babies being born too small, too soon. Other causes of infant death include congenital abnormalities and a combination of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), Sudden Unexpected Death in Infancy (SUDI), and unsafe sleep.
Infant mortality is a devastating issue with no one-size-fits-all solution. Fixing problems in health care quality and access for women and their families is critically important, but it also isn’t enough. Milwaukee must also address social, economic, and racial issues to reduce chronic stress, a major factor of premature births. Other factors that contribute to premature birth include poverty, domestic violence, unemployment or underemployment, and unmanaged mental health issues. Environmental safety; fatherhood engagement; affordable, quality child care; access to healthy foods; and jobs that pay family-sustaining wages are all examples of opportunities to move Milwaukee forward and improve birth outcomes.
To effectively address the infant mortality crisis, United Way:
- Is raising awareness about the issue by revealing how racial birth outcome disparities affect all sectors of society.
- Identifies and funds evidence-based programs that will impact the root causes and result in positive birth outcomes.
- Measures the collective impact of funded programs.
- Facilitates Best Babies Zone Westlawn, a multi-sector, place-based approach to improving birth outcomes.
In 2018-19 United Way is investing in 7 programs throughout the community that address social, medical, and economic factors to promote healthy birth outcomes.
Current Impact (2017-2018)
For those who have participated in Healthy Birth Outcomes programming:
- 99% had a healthy pregnancy outcome.
- 99% were educated about the effects of smoking and secondhand smoke.
- 95% began prenatal care in the first or second trimester.
- 84% carried the baby to term.
- 97% were observed using a safe sleep environment.
Your gift to the Healthy Birth Outcomes initiative helps ensure every baby born in our community is healthy and has the resources they need to thrive. Donate today.