Is there a smoker in your household? Take action and give your baby a healthy start!
Moms who smoke or who have family members who smoke can sign up for Quit Smoking Now, an evidence-based smoking cessation program offered by Northeast Florida Area Health Education Center (AHEC). It is a six-week program that provides you with the support, guidance and resources to help you quit.
Pregnant mothers who smoke are at risk for delivering low birth weight babies. Infants who are exposed are at risk for a sleep-related death. Smoke that can harm the baby doesn’t always come from the mother either — second- and third-hand smoke from family members can have an adverse affect too.
Quit Smoking Now is always free to participants and you don’t have to be 100 percent ready to quit — the program welcomes anyone who is interested in quitting. It’s a program developed by an ex-smoker for people who want to be ex-smokers.
The program is led by a trained facilitator, who will guide you through the many issues related to quitting smoking, including managing stress, how to prevent relapse and identifying smoking/tobacco triggers.
For more information, visit http://www.quitsmokingnowfirstcoast.com.
The children’s health care system in Florida ranks near the bottom of the country — particularly in health insurance rates.
Statewide, 17.8 percent of children 18 and under in Florida were uninsured during 2008-2009. Northeast Florida is no different than the rest of the state. Almost 20 percent of children in the region age 18 and under are uninsured, a total of 71,500 kids. But more than half of those children are potentially eligible for free or low-cost health coverage through either Medicaid or Florida KidCare.
A family of four can make up to $44,100 a year and still qualify for subsidized health insurance for their children. Premiums for Florida KidCare cost $15 or $20 a month for comprehensive coverage for all children; families that qualify for Medicaid pay nothing.
What are we doing locally?
Locally, outreach has been funded through the end of 2011. The Florida Healthy Kids Corporation awarded the Coalition $22,000 in funding for a grant that runs from November 15, 2010 to June 30, 2011. The grant includes funding for stipends for two additional outreach workers, who are serving as liaisons to the local chambers of commerce and staff community enrollment sites where families can apply for the program.
Ronald McDonald House Charities of Jacksonville awarded the Coalition $20,000 for a grant that runs from January 1, 2011 to December 31, 2011. This grant includes funding for an additional 1.5 outreach workers. Under this grant, emergency departments, urgent care centers, pediatrician offices and school health offices will be trained on how to enroll uninsured children into Florida KidCare. An outreach worker will also available on the Ronald McDonald Care Van, which provides health care to students in Duval County. The Jacksonville Children’s Commission provided a $35,000 local match.
More of Jacksonville’s babies are making it to their first birthday.
The city has seen a significant infant mortality decrease over the past 10 years. In 2009, 40 more babies in Duval County lived to celebrate their first birthdays — a success that the Healthy Start Coalition is proud of and sees a reason for continued community commitment.
“This highlights one of the key factors in the Coalition’s success: our efforts to engage and build awareness in the community around this critical public health issue,” said Rev. Tom Rodgers, a Coalition board member, at a statewide press conference in Tallahassee.
He highlighted several contributing community collaborations, including the JCCI, Inc. infant mortality study, which recently wrapped up its implementation phase; the Black Infant Health Practice Initiative, which Jacksonville was one of eight statewide communities that participated; and the federal Healthy Start program that focuses on preconception health: the Magnolia Project. Additionally, we garnered significant resources to develop and implement a comprehensive education awareness campaign — Make a Noise! Make a Difference! — that successfully reached all segments of our community.
The gains Healthy Start has made aren’t just in Jacksonville. Rev. Rodgers was one of several speakers at the Florida Association of Healthy Start Coalitions’ “Have a Heart, Save a Baby” press conference on Valentine’s Day at the state Capitol Building in Tallahassee. The press conference was held to announce the lowest state infant mortality rate in 20 years and the improved birth outcomes for all races and ethnic groups, and fewer babies were born premature. In addition, significantly fewer died from sleep-related deaths.
Infant mortality is a community problem, and it takes a community to solve it. Many factors contributed to Jacksonville’s success in improving infant health, and the role of community partners in our efforts cannot be ignored. We appreciate and value the many community partners who joined us in our fight against infant mortality.
We are excited and proud of our success in Jacksonville, but we know that the hard work is just beginning. The Coalition will continue to work to ensure EVERY baby born in Florida gets the best possible start in life.