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State's Infant Mortality Rate Is Up; Franklin County's Rate Is Down

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A new Ohio Department of Health report shows an increase in the state's infant mortality rate, with African-American babies dying at a rate approaching three times that of caucasians. The report shows Franklin County's infant mortality rate dropped last year, with less than eight deaths per one-thousand births. Local officials are in the midst of a five-year program to reduce infant mortality by 40-percent. Another new report details the risk factors associated with infant mortality.  Joseph Ahern at the Center for Community Solutions researched key birth outcomes for women in all 88 Ohio counties.

Ahern says the rates are tied to inadequate prenatal care, which often is connected to a mother's educational level or socioeconomic status. He says Ohio's teen birth rate fell from 2010 to 2014, with 24 out of every one-thousand girls ages 15 to 19 giving birth.

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The report also shows 38 percent of births are covered by Medicaid.

Jim has been with WCBE since 1996. Before that he worked as a reporter at another Columbus radio station, and for three newspapers in Southwest Florida.
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