GEARY COUNTY, Kan. (WIBW) -- A collaborative effort in Geary County is helping to improve the health of expectant mothers and their babies.
During a press conference Thursday at the Geary Community Hospital, the Mach of Dimes Kansas Chapter awarded a three year community grant to the Geary County Perinatal Coalition to support “Delivering Change: Healthy Moms-Healthy Babies”- an initiative that aims to improve the overall health of mothers and babies in Geary County.
Diane Daldrup, State Director of Program Services for the Kansas Chapter of the March of Dimes, presented the first check in the amount of $24,900. The grant will be used to fund a new prenatal model integrating prenatal education classes in conjunction with individualized prenatal appointments with doctors.
“It’s almost like looking at two sides of the coin. You’ve got the clinical care and many of the moms will get clinical care but that community education piece- that seals the deal. That’s what is really going to improve the birth rates in this area and we are thrilled to be able to help support that and move that forward,” Daldrup said during the press conference.
“It’s a need statewide. We have a fairly high infant mortality rate in our state. We have a high premature birth rate in our state- one in eight babies is born prematurely. Premature birth is the leading cause of infant mortality so there’s a need here for programs like this. There’s a need in other communities. What we’re trying to do is target those areas where the highest need exists and the highest numbers of babies are born,” she added.
"We know that prenatal care here is excellent. We do a great job of that in Geary County. Certainly, our partners on post do an excellent job as well. But we thought, why don't we take that outside of the box and see if we can improve our moms and their babies by empowering women through knowledge," said Terrah Stroda, chairwoman of Delivering Change.
A series of six education classes, from the March of Dimes curriculum “Becoming a Mom,” will cover topics such as: prenatal care, pregnancy health, labor and delivery, infant feeding, infant care and postpartum health. The classes will be offered in addition to regularly scheduled appointments with health care providers.
The prenatal education classes are free and open to all Geary County residents. The first series of classes starts on Monday, August 20, 2012. To find out more information about the prenatal education classes, contact the Junction City-Geary County Health Department at 785-762-5788 or Flint Hills OB/GYN at 785-223-555.
The grant is one of many that the March of Dimes awards in pursuit of its mission to prevent birth defects and infant mortality.