Healthy Start

Jefferson County now has the highest infant mortality rate in the state. Healthy Start coalition just received federal funds to help rural communities reduce infant mortality rates among African-Americans.

Nadia Fadell waited until her late 30s to have a baby. Two months ago she gave birth to a seven pound baby girl. Fadell is one of a few women in Jefferson County who's taken advantage of Healthy Start, a program designed to help mothers deliver healthy babies.

Nadia says, "I couldn't imagine having a child and had I known, had I taken folic acid for instance and prevent spina bifida, and it was something prevent."

Health officials say though Fadell's story is a positive one, Jefferson County is leading the state in infant mortality and low birth rates among African Americans.

Carol Vickers, R.N., Healthy Start coordinator, says, "We are working real hard to educate the community. Part of this new grant is going to educate the churches, the grandmother and people who can impact the women to realize the importance of prenatal care and taking care of themselves."

Health administrators received a $99,000 grant to reduce infant mortality rates in two rural counties.

Donna Hagan, the contract manager for Healthy Start coalition, says, "We wrote the grant with several components. We're going to fund an outreach worker to serve Jefferson and Madison Counties that will be educating pregnant women in a group setting.”

Health officials are hoping the grant will help save lives in these rural counties. Administrators are now trying to hire a community health educator to implement the grant in both rural communities.