Local group combats high infant mortality rate in Duval County

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Duval County has one of the highest rates of infant mortality in the state.

According to Northeast Florida Healthy Start Coalition, ZIP codes 32209 in Northwest Jacksonville and 32210 on the Westside have the highest rates of infant mortality in Jacksonville.

Those areas are also disproportionately impacted by high rates of poverty, crime and drug use.

“High rates of infant mortality are essentially an indicator of the city’s health,” said Faye Johnson, CEO of Northeast Florida Healthy Start Coalition.

The group is trying to help give those babies a fighting chance.

“We want our babies, all of our babies to live past their first birthday and longer,” Johnson said.

The organization’s campaign focuses on educating women to stay healthy before, during and after pregnancy.

Johnson said there are several factors that can lead to infant mortality.

“Poverty for one. Some of the other factors are housing around the social determinacy of health. The health of women during pregnancy,” Johnson said.

Black babies are 2.6 times more likely to have birth risks.

Johnson said for both the mom and child to survive the birthing process, pregnant women need access to prenatal care.

“Sometimes women might have to travel outside of the ZIP codes to get to a provider,” Johnson explained about the current disparities.

The campaign will run through September, and the organization has several activities planned throughout the following months.

To find out how you can get involved, head to https://nefhealthystart.org/.

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