Cradle Cincinnati

Cincinnati Magazine
Jeremy Kramer

  When it comes to infant mortality rates, Hamilton County and Cincinnati are among the worst in the nation. Between 2009 and 2013, the national average was a little over six deaths per thousand in the first year of life. For Hamilton County it was 9.9 and for the city of Cincinnati, even worse at 12.4 deaths, twice the national figure.

www.cradlecincinnati.org / Cradle Cincinnati

Cradle Cincinnati says 96 babies born in Hamilton County in 2014 died before their first birthdays. 

While that's still above the national average, Hamilton County Commissioner Todd Portune says there is a positive note.

"While 96 deaths is too many," says Portune, "this is an improvement and a lower rate than our rate for 2013. And that rate of deaths per 1,000 live births is an all-time low for Hamilton County."

The 2014 rate was 8.78 deaths per 1,000 live births. The 2013 rate was 8.84.

Tana Weingartner / WVXU

In its efforts to lower Hamilton County's high infant mortality rate, Cradle Cincinnati is adding up the cost of preterm births.

A study by UC's Economics Center finds preterm births cost more than $400 million each year.

County Commissioner and Cradle Cincinnati co-chair Todd Portune says "if you laid a dollar bill side-by-side, $402 million is represented by those dollars, collectively, covering the entire acreage of Lunken Airport."

The study breaks the dollars down three ways:

Jay Hanselman

Cradle Cincinnati is announcing a couple new partnerships in an effort to prevent sleep-related infant deaths.  It is called the “Cribs for Kids” program.  

One of those involves the United Way's 211 line.  It connects people with community resources.  

Hamilton County Commissioner and Cradle Cincinnati co-chairman Todd Portune said it will help get baby cribs to parents who need them.

On its first birthday, Cradle Cincinnati is announcing a major increase to its budget. The group which aims to reduce infant mortality is seeing its budget go from $250,000 to almost $1.3 million.

Hamilton County Commissioner Todd Portune calls the change a good start.

"Now that's not where we need to be because this issue requires a broad, community-wide effort," says Portune. "It's going to take more from all of us and beyond the medical community but we will get there because success is the only word that we will accept."

USAID

The launch of the StartStong initiative is the pilot for what may become a national model to lower pre-mature birthrates.

StartStrong is a geographically focused initiative to redesign healthcare delivery and reduce preterm birth rates. The program launched Tuesday evening, March 11 at Avondale Southern Baptist Church and is open to the public.

Tana Weingartner / WVXU

Infant mortality rates for Hamilton County and Cincinnati decreased in 2013 but still remain higher than the national average.

Cradle Cincinnati released last year's numbers following a community summit Tuesday morning.

Hamilton County saw 95 babies die before their first birthday, for a rate of 8.9 deaths per 1,000 live births.  Of those deaths, 53 were City of Cincinnati residents, giving the City a rate of 9.9 deaths per 1,000 live births.