National Women's Checkup Day

It's National Women's checkup day, and to celebrate, the Bond Community Health Center in Leon County is doing free screening. These screenings are more important to women in Leon County than anywhere else in the state.

Doloris Hudson has a clean bill of health. She knows this because she spent her Monday morning at the Leon County Bond Community Health Center, getting a special free screening.

"Well, mainly because insurance is so high and it's good to have this to come in to. A friend of mine told me about it."

Registered Nurse Cynthia Knight says, "We are doing what's called National Women's Checkup. It's important because we know that heart disease, diabetes, some of the other chronic diseases are prevalent, and early prevention is the key."

In Leon County, women's health may be an even greater concern than it is anywhere else in Florida. Health professionals say the infant mortality rate among black African-American babies in the county is frightening.

Ceo J.R. Richards says, "Leon County right now has a rate higher than the state average, two and three times greater than the state average, so there's a definite need to be addressed."

There is a list of reasons for the high numbers.

"Number one being poverty, lack of education for parents, lack of access to health care for preventative health care for moms. Many mothers are entering prenatal care late in the pregnancy."

Health officials say the first step is improving access to health care, and that's what Bond is doing.

Health care workers say there's also a national disparity. Statistics show that black infants are two and half times more likely to die before their first birthday than white infants.