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Maryland Announces Decline In Infant Mortality

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BALTIMORE (WJZ)—Maryland’s infant mortality rate drops for the second year in a row to the lowest rate recorded in the state. And, as Pat Warren explains, lowering that rate even further remains a state priority.

Cameron Jones was the star of the show at the governor’s news conference Wednesday morning. His tearful mom participates in B’more for Healthy Babies, a program which helped lower the city’s infant mortality rate.

“They just give us a lot of information on how to take better care for the babies,” said Vernell Jones, Cameron’s mom. “I’m just so thankful that Baltimore has this program.”

Maryland celebrates its lowest infant mortality rate in history.

“And the biggest gains we had last year were among African-American moms and their babies, the biggest gains,” Gov. Martin O’Malley said.

But regrettable there are still great losses. In Maryland last year African-American infants were five times more likely than whites to die of birth-related complications, four times more likely to die of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and low birth weight, and three times more likely to die from complications from pregnancy.

While 541 babies died in 2009, that number went down in 2010; 295 were infants born to African-American women, 178 to whites, 42 born to Hispanic and 17 born to Asian women.

“We have a lot of work ahead of us,” O’Malley said. “This is not a time to say mission accomplished. But I do think that over the years with good people with persistence and dedication we figured it out.”

The goal is to connect mothers and mothers-to-be with existing services dedicated to bringing healthy babies into the world.

Maryland saw a 10 percent decline in the infant mortality rate last year.

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