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Baby Love

by Diana Bradley, Staff Writer | November 01, 2012
From the November 2012 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

And in 2010, we marked four consecutive years of declines in the national pre-term birth rate, which was possible because of the national Prematurity Campaign we launched in 2003. That decline means one thousand more babies were given a healthy start in life and that the nation saved a billion dollars in medical costs.

DMBN: Tell us about the second annual World Prematurity Day, coming up Nov. 17.
JH: I’m thrilled to say that our partners from last year are returning and many more are joining us. People can go to our Facebook page: www.facebook.com/WorldPrematurityDay and submit a story about a baby in their life. Each story told will light a point on a global map to help raise awareness of pre-term birth.

In May, along with our partners, we issued Born Too Soon: A Global Action Report on Preterm Birth, containing the first-ever estimates of pre-term birth rates by country. The report found that worldwide 15 million babies are born too soon each year, and of those, more than one million die because of their early birth. We expect that this report will give policy makers and elected officials the information they need to begin to implement prematurity prevention programs in their countries. The report also found that pre-term babies are born at a higher rate in the U.S. than in 130 other countries, including many poorer nations. The U.S. rate of pre-term birth has been far too high for far too long. While our country excels in helping preemies survive, we have failed to do enough to prevent pre-term births and help more mothers carry their babies full-term. In conjunction with World Prematurity Day, we will also issue our Premature Birth Report Card, which tracks the progress states are making to lower their pre-term birth rates.

DMBN: In January, the March of Dimes will kick-off a yearlong celebration of its 75th anniversary. What will this consist of?
JH: Four million babies are born [in the U.S.] each year, and the March of Dimes helped each and every one through 75 years of research, education, vaccines and breakthroughs. We have many things planned, including a legacy wall of historic photos that will acknowledge our supporters and donors and we’re working to get federal legislation passed that will allow a commemorative coin marking our anniversary to be issued.

DMBN: What is the biggest stumbling block your organization faces?
JH: Fundraising in a sluggish economy is a challenge and we’re responding with innovative approaches such as our new imbornto marketing campaign and using social media to share the urgency of our mission. The imbornto campaign builds on the idea that every baby is born to do something great and that through its support of research and educational programs, the March of Dimes helps them reach their full potential.

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