App aims to combat high infant mortality rate in 79104 zip code

For Your Health

AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — The Amarillo 2018 Community Health Assessment was released earlier this year, and after taking a closer look at the data, one area, in particular, has an alarmingly high infant mortality rate.

The zip code of concern has a rate three times the state’s average.

The most alarming statistic in the community health assessment was the rate of 18.36 infant mortalities per 1,000 babies in the 79104 zip code.

“This is the first time in a very long time we’ve done a community assessment in this depth, and it jumped right off the paint at everybody as a really alarming statistic that we have to work on,” said Co-Director of InfantRisk Center, Dr. Theresa Baker.

That is compared to the state’s average of just 5.9. Dr. Baker explains the immediate need to address the issue.

“We originally had a community meeting down at the barrio clinic with a lot of people,” said Dr. Baker.

Now, the InfantRisk Center is trying to help with the MommyMeds mobile app.

“We had a crowdfunding campaign and we raised some money so that the infant risk center has a mobile application that you can put on any smartphone for any moms or health care providers. So we’re going to give out 800 of these mobile apps for free to these new moms who are coming out of our nurseries and NICUs,” said Dr. Baker.

The app will help with parenting advice and education, including safe co-sleeping practices, and how your baby’s crib should be set up.

“This is a perfect example of do not do. So, what you want is to clear out the whole crib so that it’s just a flat surface that nothing is obstructing on the sides or where the baby’s going to be, and then you want to put the baby on their backs, so the whole campaign is baby back to sleep, so nothing can obstruct their airway,” said Dr. Baker.

The app also offers help for mothers because maternal mortality is also a concern. This includes resources for depression, anxiety, and drug use.

Dr. Brown said they are continuing to dig through the data, and are specifically looking at the cause of death for these infants to get to the bottom of why the rate is so much higher in that area.

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