ENID, Okla. — Community factors
Aside from preventing SIDS, there are a number of health factors specific to pregnancy that affect the county’s infant mortality rate, including lack of folic acid during pregnancy, gestational diabetes and hypertension.
But, there is a longer list of health factors that affect the community at-large and contribute to infant mortality when women carry their health issues into pregnancy.
Jackson said those include maternal tobacco use and tobacco use in the home after birth; poor maternal diet and nutrition; unhealthy eating habits; and obesity.
Overcoming those environmental risk factors is the long-term solution to lowering infant mortality in Garfield County, Jackson said.
Toward that end, the county recently was awarded a $20,000 Preparing for a Lifetime grant from Oklahoma State Department of Health.
The program is a state initiative to provide women and families the education and resources needed to achieve healthier outcomes for their babies.
Jackson said Garfield County Health Department will use the grant to provide educational materials on topics such as prenatal health, breastfeeding, SIDS prevention, tobacco cessation and other topics related to pregnancy and infant health.
She said the grant will enable the county health department to obtain educational materials “culturally appropriate” for the health department’s clients.
MAPPing a plan
The health department also will address infant mortality through its broader initiative to improve health outcomes in the county, Mobilizing for Action through Planning and Partnership (MAPP).
MAPP is a coalition of more than 20 community partner agencies in Garfield County, in the health care, treatment, prevention and social service fields.
MAPP began building a comprehensive plan to improve the county’s health last year. The process began last June with a public listening session, then entered a process of identifying key areas of public health in the county that could be impacted with available resources.
The MAPP coalition recently selected its top six areas of emphasis in the county:
• tobacco cessation
• nutrition and physical activity
• infant and child health
• domestic violence
• chronic disease
• access to health care and mental health services
Jackson said by addressing those areas, the health department and its MAPP partners hope to not only reduce infant mortality in Garfield County but promote lifelong healthier outcomes.