Florida Healthy Babies Initiative
The Florida Healthy Babies Initiative (FHBI) is a state-wide effort to address high rates of infant mortality at the county level. In Citrus County the infant mortality rate has risen 41% to 8.2 infant deaths per 1,000 live births in the county (2017-2019) from 5.8 infant deaths (2012-2014). Twenty-six infant deaths occurred between 2017 and 2019, with 11 of these deaths occurring in 2018 alone.
We have several upcoming meetings scheduled to review the data and develop a work plan to address the maternal and infant health factors influencing infant mortality. These meetings are open to anyone with an interest in helping our moms and babies be as healthy as possible. See our events page for upcoming meetings.
Citrus County Breaking Barriers to Breastfeeding Support
Thanks to DOH-Citrus International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) Maret Wachira, the DOH-Citrus Senior Leadership Team, Citrus Memorial Hospital and Bayfront Health Seven Rivers, the "Citrus County Breaking Barriers to Breastfeeding Support" initiative was selected as a 2019 Promising Practice by the National Association of County and City Health Officials.
The initiative's focal point was the creation of a unique partnership between DOH-Citrus and the two area hospitals that serve Citrus families. Through the partnership, DOH-Citrus hired Maret in early 2017 to lead breastfeeding promotion efforts and provide breastfeeding support services within the hospitals and to all maternal and child health clients at DOH-Citrus. Maret also operates a county-wide infant feeding support line to help mothers through common breastfeeding challenges.
Because of their combined efforts, the percentage of Citrus mothers who initiate breastfeeding has increased from 75% (2017) to 78.8% (2018). Source: FLHealthCharts.com.