The Alabama Baby Coalition
The Alabama Baby Coalition was established in 1998 with a goal of making Mobile Alabama a safe place to be an infant. Before that time, there was no one researching individual cases of infant and fetal deaths in our county. Only a simple count of deaths was kept on the record books. A Fetal and Infant Mortality Review (FIMR) program was put into place to research each case of infant death less than 12 months of age, and each fetal death case over 20 weeks gestational age. The results of each case reviewed are presented to the Case Review Team (CRT) which is a group of approximately 40 healthcare professionals including physicians and nurses.
The cases are anonymously discussed (no patient or baby names are used) and recommendations for change, if any, are made to the Community Action Team (CAT). Recommendations can include, among others, hospital policy, education needs for healthcare workers and parents, education needs for teenagers and potential mothers, and even data collection recommendations. The CAT works with policymakers and other community leaders to affect changes to insure the safety of babies in our county.
Mobile County stands alone as the only Alabama County to have its own FIMR program. When the program began, the Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) was very high and exceeded the state and national averages. The IMR is a rate calculated by the number of infant deaths per 1000 live births. In 1998 and 1999 the IMR for Mobile County was 10.5 as compared to the national IMR of 7.0.
Since that time Mobile County has seen a drop in the infant mortality virtually each year since then.
The cornerstone of the progress made in reducing infant mortality both locally and nationally is the message of safe sleep. This message emphasizes the importance of putting every infant on his or her back every time they sleep, even for naptime. Since this message has been put forth, the number of SIDS and sleep related deaths has dropped nearly 50%!
Fortunately we have seen the infant mortality rate drop each year down to our current rate of 8.0 deaths per 1000 live births. Our work continues as we have a long way to go to reach the national IMR of 6.6.
Alabama Baby Coalition website < click here >