TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - Lucas County is getting more than $2 million help combat infant mortality. The Ohio Department of Medicaid awarded $2,206,645 to the Hospital Council of Northwest Ohio and the Toledo Lucas County Health Department.
The agencies are particularly concerned with the gap between the number of black babies and the number of white babies who don't make it to their first birthday. In Lucas County, for every 1,000 live births, about 14 black babies die. That's compared to five white babies.
Health Commissioner, Eric Zgodzinski said there are a number of reasons for the disparity, one of them being racism.
"We've heard these stories about racism. About people of color being followed in the store, when they're just shopping. Something as simple as that, stresses somebody out. So you compound those stresses and it can lead to the concern that we have with infant mortality," Zgodzinski said.
Funded projects include the expansion of the HUB and hiring of additional community health workers, hiring of a midwife/nurse educator, creation of a community health worker program targeting the African American mothers, and the hiring of an African American male home visitor who will provide outreach to fathers.