Today, the Ohio Department of Health released their latest report on infant mortality, sharing 2015 statewide data for the first time. The state saw an increase in its infant mortality rate from 6.8 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2014 to 7.2 in 2015, a rise representing about 45 more deaths. Hamilton County 2015 data was released in March with a report by the Cradle Cincinnati partnership. That report showed steady local improvement over time, but with numbers that continue to be higher than the statewide rate.

Like in Hamilton County, the state saw a concerning increase in sleep-related infant deaths in 2015. Babies sleep safest alone, on their back and in a crib. 150 babies died from unsafe sleep across Ohio in 2015, 14 of whom lived in Hamilton County.

In 2016, the state has already responded with investments in Hamilton County including:

  • A new $2.1 million investment in Cradle Cincinnati to employ Community Health Workers.
  • Expanded home visitation services through Every Child Succeeds through a federal MCHV.
  • A new home visitation investment with Healthy Moms and Babes through the OIMRI grant.
  • An expansion of the Ohio Equity Institute partnership including Hamilton County Public Health and the Cincinnati Health Department.

“I believe Hamilton County can be a model for the rest of the state. In the first three years of Cradle Cincinnati’s collaborative, we saw 41 fewer local deaths and a 13% drop in our infant mortality rate,” said County Commissioner and Cradle Cincinnati Chair Todd Portune. “While we celebrate that progress, we are squarely focused on the fact that we all still have a lot of work left to do before we can rest. Far too many babies are still dying in Hamilton County and around the state.”

More information on the state of maternal and infant health in Hamilton County is available here.