The March of Dimes has initiated a new project called Healthy Babies are Worth the Wait (HBWW). This public health campaign strives to prevent factors related to preterm birth, including social, medical and biological influences. Children born prematurely are more likely to have vision and hearing problems, lasting physical and mental disabilities, and learning delays later in life. [i] Aiming for pregnancies that are at least 39 weeks in length decreases the likelihood of children developing health problems There has been a rise of in the number of U.S. births before week 39 over the past two decades, with 12.8% of live births in 2006 classified as a preterm birth. [ii]
The Kentucky Department for Public Health in collaboration with the March of Dimes and Johnson & Johnson Pediatric Institute helped create HBWW: a community-based, preterm birth prevention initiative. An innovative key to the campaign is engaging the community among local- and state-level clinical and public health partners. It includes targeted resources for both the public (info sheet: http://www.marchofdimes.com/pregnancy/getready_atleast39weeks.html) and professionals (toolkit: http://www.marchofdimes.com/professionals/medicalresources_39weeks.html).
How can we use these strategies in our work throughout MCH? This collaborative theory and process influences much of our work, but more can be done across sectors, fields and levels of work. Check out a webinar March 29, 2012 11:00pm CST sponsored by Healthy People 2020 Leading Health Indicators: http://goo.gl/iFJbQ. Participants will learn about how collaboration and partnerships, provider initiatives, patient support, public engagement, and progress measures helped inform HBWW’s conceptualization.
[i] March of Dimes. (2010, April). Your premature baby. Retrieved from March of Dimes: http://www.marchofdimes.com/baby/premature_indepth.html
[ii] March of Dimes (2011). Medical Resources. Retrieved from March of Dimes: http://www.marchofdimes.com/professionals/medicalresources_hbww.html.