Bleak scenario could change
An African-American baby born on the West Side of Cleveland in 2013 has less of a chance to survive his or her first year of life than an infant born in such faraway and far less developed nations as Libya, Botswana, the Gaza Strip, Thailand and Tonga.
That disheartening data, culled from the Central Intelligence Agency’s World Factbook, paints a bleak picture of the crisis of infant mortality in Ohio, particularly among African Americans.
Even more disturbing is that Ohio’s rate ranks among the deadliest in the entire United States. The Buckeye State falls 48th in the nation in its overall infant mortality rate and 49th among African Americans.
This plague demands a concerted multipronged remedy. Fortunately for Ohioans, two state senators have stepped up to the plate to offer a set of viable tools toward decreasing our shamefully high infant-mortality rate and increasing the quantity and quality of life for our state’s newest and most innocent residents.
Of course, progressive new laws can only do so much to improve the overall health of Ohio babies. Dr. Arthur James, co-director of the Ohio Department of Health’s Collaborative to Prevent Infant Mortality, points out a variety of other factors that play a role in high rates of early childhood deaths.
Therefore as Ohio makes inroads toward revitalizing its economy and increasing quality of life for all, potential beneficiaries include the state’s youngest and most vulnerable residents.
The (Youngstown) Vindicator