March 4, 2013

Almost 14 Percent of Kentucky Babies Born Prematurely

When it comes to infant mortality and babies born prematurely, Kentucky ranks a dismal 46th among the states.

To get a better grasp of the challenges faced by Kentucky, infant mortality rate is higher here than it is in countries like Cuba, Slovakia and Croatia.

Last week at the Governor's Summit on Infant Mortality, officials stated that almost 14 percent of babies born in Kentucky are born prematurely. Part of that problem is drug addiction, where figures show that babies born to addicted mothers has soared by about 2,400 percent from the period of 2000 to 2011.

The problem in the state is no longer medical technological, as it has been in the past, but is now related to social problems such as drug abuse, poverty and educational challenges.

In Kentucky the rate of death for infants in the first year of life is 6.6 per 1,000 births. The national average is 6.1 deaths per 1,000 births.

As for babies born and suffering from drug withdrawal, it's far worse in Kentucky than the 330 percent growth from 2000 to 2009 across the nation. Prescription drugs especially are a huge and growing problem in Kentucky.

Unsurprisingly, areas hit the hardest by infant mortality in Kentucky are counties in the Appalachian region, where high unemployment and poverty contribute to the problem in a major way.

One of the successful programs in the state has been the Health Access Nurturing Development Services, or HANDS program, which brings together expectant mothers with mentors. That makes a lot of sense, as it's not money or the state that can handle this problem, but rather caring people (even though HANDS is a state program.

In the end, these health issues are in fact spiritual problems, and no matter what the government does, it won't really help in the long run. The reason why is government isn't a healer in any way, shape or form, and only Jesus Christ and His people can get to the core issues that can help many people over time.

That's not to say the outcomes of lifestyles resulting in this tragic circumstances shouldn't be worked on, just that it will also only deal with the outward situation and not the cause.

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