Toledo Lucas County Health Department screening Infant Mortality Documentary

TOLEDO (WTOL) - Earlier this year in a special report, “What’s Killing Our Babies,” WTOL 11 broke down the alarming data, regarding infant deaths in Toledo-Lucas County; in particular, the disparity between black and white baby deaths.

Now, the Health Department is releasing an eye-opening documentary, to raise awareness and hopefully help close that gap.

“He looked like he looked over for a minute, then he just died. The nurse, picks him up and I’m trying to run off because I can’t believe this and they said, ‘no, you hold your baby. You hold your baby.’ So I hold my baby and the last thing I remember is just his warm body, going cold,” said Ideshia Shumaker, who lost her baby boy in 2015.

She’s one of six families who relive their tragedies in a new documentary with the hope of helping others.

“I think what we have not done as a community, is put a personal face or a personal look on infant mortality. So that’s what this documentary does,” said Minority Health Supervisor with the Toledo Lucas County Health Department, Celeste Smith.

Celeste Smith is the Minority Health Supervisor of the Toledo Lucas County Health Department. She said there is a lack of awareness that infant mortality is a problem in our area.

The documentary titled “Infant Mortality: Black and White in Lucas County” specifically addresses the disparity between black and white infant deaths. Alarming, new data shows, in Lucas County, 6.7 white babies died, compared to 17.5 black babies, per 1,000 live births.

“One of the predictors of the health of a community is by the way that community takes care of its babies. And right now in Toledo-Lucas County, we’re not doing a good job of saving our babies,” said Smith.

The health department hopes to raise awareness with the documentary and also have it used as a teaching tool.

The health department invites everyone out to see the documentary Tuesday evening at 5:30 p.m. at Start High School. There will be a second streaming on Saturday at 1 p.m. at the Ohio Theatre.

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