INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.– The Indiana State Department of Health says the Hoosier State has seen the biggest decrease in six years for infant mortality, yet there’s still a lot of work to do.
There are nurses stationed across the state waiting to help, in hopes of saving the lives. Being a young, single mother is challenging in many ways.
“I’m 22 now, yeah, it’s a journey,” Tracy Washington explained as she shared her personal story of being a young mother.
Washington would do anything for her 10-month-old son, AJ, but she knew she would need help.
“I really felt like I wasn’t enough and my nurse, she made me feel like I was,” Washington said emotionally. “She told me you are enough.”
Kylie Noe is more than her nurse. She’s been with her every step of the way, during her pregnancy and as a support system. Noe has helped Washington through prenatal care, breastfeeding and now helping her manage tantrums with her son.
It’s all part of a program through Goodwill of Central and Southern Indiana’s Nurse-Family Partnership. There are more than 700 new moms in the region supported by the program.
“I always like to tell people that I’m a nurse, social worker, case worker, therapist, all sort of rolled into one,” Noe explained.
Lynn Baldwin is the Director of Operations for the partnership.
“The greatest benefit is a free, personal nurse for each family,” said Baldwin. “Motherhood is not easy, it doesn’t come with an instruction manual and to be able to have a nurse that you can reach out to, to contact when you’re having issues.”
Her program focuses on three goals: improve pregnancy outcomes, strengthen child health development and increase self-sufficiency for families.
Although Indiana is improving, she believes there’s still a lot to do.
“The black infant mortality rate is triple about what the white infant mortality rate is, so there’s a lot of work to do,” said Baldwin.
Goodwill isn’t alone in this fight to help new moms. In January, the state launched a new OB Navigator initiative. The home-visiting program is rolling out in the 20 counties at the highest risk of infant mortality.
“To have them try and bring home visiting to more families across the state, we’re very excited to partner with them on that,” Baldwin added.
Working together to help Hoosier moms be the best they can be for the little ones who depend on them.
“There’s not a beat that my home nurse, Kylie, the best one to me, has not missed a beat. She has not missed one step,” said Washington. “If you need anything to help out with your child, they’re there.”
According to the OB Navigator website, implementation begins with a series of community meetings.
Here are the upcoming meetings to learn more:
- Wayne County: 3 p.m., Feb. 11, Reid Health Hospital, 1100 Reid Parkway, Richmond
- Lake County: April 7-8
- Cass County: April 29