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Mayor: $5.1 Million Grant Benefits Women & Children

Monday June 27, 2005

Health Department Extends Program to Reduce Infant-Mortality Rates 

Mayor Jerry Abramson and Congresswoman Anne Northup announced today a multi-million dollar federal grant that will continue a program to reduce minority infant-mortality rates in Louisville.

Over the next four years, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will distribute $5.1 million to the Louisville Metro Health Department’s Healthy Start program.
 
“This grant rewards hard work and success. It allows us to continue a program that’s changed the lives of women and children in our hometown,” said Abramson. Healthy Start works to lower infant-mortality rates in several West Louisville neighborhoods. When the program launched in 1998, infants living in the target areas were twice as likely to die before their first birthday as children living in other neighborhoods.

Healthy Start operates out of three Neighborhood Place locations:
· Ujima in the DuValle Education Center
· Northwest at Shawnee High School
· Bridges of Hope on Algonquin Parkway

Healthy Start reaches out to pregnant women and women who’ve recently had children. Mothers receive prenatal care, childcare and parenting classes, and home visits from case workers to screen for safety hazards and depression.

Families receive “points” for participating in programs like completing parenting classes and having children vaccinated on schedule. Those “points” may be redeemed at Healthy Start stores in select Neighborhood Places for cribs, car seats, play pens, clothing and other baby items.

Since the program started seven years ago, there’s been a 40% increase in participants receiving preventive care from a doctor, the number of low birth-weight babies has been cut in half, and participants record an infant-mortality rate of zero.
 
“Louisville competed against other communities across the country for this grant, and I appreciate Congresswoman Anne Northup’s dedication to securing this funding for our hometown,” said Abramson.

Northup noted the program’s success as the primary reason for the multi-million dollar investment. “The Healthy Start program has been extremely valuable to at-risk communities here in Louisville,” said Northup. “The services are continuing to help mothers and their newborns begin healthy, happy lives together, and I am glad to support their work.”

This grant ensures the Healthy Start program will continue through 2009.

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