Keys are there to reduce infant mortality
Columbus City Council President Andrew Ginther penned a Letter to the Editor in the Columbus Dispatch on the work of CelebrateOne and partners to reduce infant mortality.
By Andrew Ginther
The Columbus Dispatch
Sunday, December 14, 2015
Last Sunday’s Dispatch article “ Long-acting birth control offered free to Columbus women” addressed the importance of increasing access to long-acting, reversible contraceptives (LARCs) and safely spaced births, both of which are key components of the CelebrateOne strategic plan. (For more information, see celebrateone.info).
The plan incorporates recommendations made by the Greater Columbus Infant Mortality Task Force, found at gcinfantmortality.org, which address improving reproductive health planning.
Nearly half of all pregnancies in Franklin County are unintended. In addition, nearly 20 percent of Franklin County births are to mothers who are not actively trying to prevent another pregnancy after recently delivering a baby. This contributes to the fact that 14 percent of Franklin County births are not safely spaced (meaning less than 18 months apart), which leads to higher infant-mortality rates.
Improving health insurance coverage and reimbursement policies for LARCs and expanding reproductive health education for Franklin County youths would increase access to contraception for low-income women in our community and help prevent teenage pregnancy.
The CelebrateOne plan borrows from lessons learned in other cities like Denver, where access to long-lasting, reversible contraceptives was increased; support networks involving parents and the community were established; sex education and education about healthy living behaviors, nutrition and physical activity were improved; and public-health officials successfully utilized technology and social media to promote their message.
Reducing infant mortality and the number of children born into poverty will require a community-wide effort to increase awareness of the importance of reproductive health planning and increased access to contraception and the services needed to make safe and responsible life-planning decisions critical to healthy births and the wellbeing of mother and child.
ANDREW J. GINTHER
Columbus City Council