The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update

Columns

November 10, 2013

Maureen Hayden: VanNess must convince lawmakers to restore funding

INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana Gov. Mike Pence opened the state’s Infant Mortality Summit last week by sharing a personal story: He and his wife had struggled with infertility issues early in their marriage, so the eventual arrival of their three children was met with deep gratitude and appreciation.

“Anybody who knows me, knows I have a Ph.D. in ‘Dad,’” he said. Pence went on to promise his audience of public health officials that a key goal of his administration will be to reduce the number of babies in Indiana dying before their first birthday.

It’s an ambitious goal. Over the last decade, Indiana’s has dropped from 32nd to 45th in the nation in infant mortality rates, a ranking that Pence called “deplorable.”

There are multiple causes for the state’s high rate of 7.7 deaths for every 1,000 live births, with many linked to the state’s poor overall health and the lack of access to healthcare.

A majority of babies less than one year old die due to complications related to birth defects, premature births or a mother’s weight, age or illness. More Hoosier women smoke while pregnant – almost 17 percent in Indiana versus 9 percent nationally — and they’re more likely to be obese.

Indiana mothers are also less likely to breastfeed; more likely to sleep in the same bed with their infants, putting babies at risk for suffocation; and increasingly likely to have doctors who are electing, for convenience rather than medical need, to deliver babies before they reach full term. Also: more than one-third of pregnant women in Indiana don’t get any prenatal care during the critical first trimester.

“Indiana is consistently one of the worst in the U.S.,” said Indiana Health Commissioner William VanNess, former CEO of Community Hospital Anderson. “It’s not that a lot of good people haven’t worked on this but we haven’t been able to stop the heartbreak.”

Text Only
Columns
Featured Ads
More Resources from The Herald Bulletin
AP Video
Obama Hopeful on Ukraine, Will Watch Russians Flamingo Frenzy Ahead of Zoo Construction Crew Criticized Over Handling of Ferry Disaster Agreement Reached to Calm Ukraine Tensions Raw: Pope Francis Performs Pre-easter Ritual Raw: Bulgarian Monastery Dyes 5000 Easter Eggs Diplomats Reach Deal to Ease Tensions in Ukraine U.S. Sending Nonlethal Aid to Ukraine Military Holder: Americans Stand With KC Mourners Obama Greets Wounded Warriors Malaysia Plane: Ocean Floor Images 'Very Clear' Sparks Fly With Derulo and Jordin on New Album Franco Leads Star-studded Broadway Cast Raw: Two Lucky Kids Get Ride in Popemobile Boston Bombing Survivors One Year Later Sister of Slain MIT Officer Reflects on Bombing
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Helium debate
Helium
Front page
Poll

How well do you monitor your child's use of social media?

I do a good job
I check occasionally
Not well at all
     View Results