When members of the Chi Eta Phi nursing sorority learned in January 2016 that the 46806 Zip Code area in southeast Fort Wayne has one of the highest infant mortality rates in the state, they decided to take action to prevent continued loss of young lives.
"We were really shocked, surprised and hurt," said Dorothy Jackson, secretary of the African-American nurses sorority and the member who dug into data to research the situation.
Believing the solution is better educating parents on proper infant care, the Chi Eta Phi group created five, 30-second videos to make people more aware of infant mortality dangers and how to prevent them. The group will unveil the videos to local social-service providers and the public during a launch party from noon to 3 p.m. Saturday in the Event Center at The Summit, 1025 W. Rudisill Blvd.
The 46806 Zip Code area in Fort Wayne had an infant mortality rate of 15.3 deaths per 1,000 live births for the period of 2010-2014, the most recent data available Tuesday, the Indiana Department of Health reported. That ranked as the fourth highest infant death rate statewide for that time period.
New data made available Wednesday shows the 46806 Zip Code area has an infant mortality rate of 14.3 deaths per 1,000 live births for the period 2011-2015, which ranks third highest in the state, the state department of health reported.
To prevent those deaths, Chi Eta Phi nurses hope to go to community to events, such as health fairs, and to groups, such as churches, to present their videos and to discuss how to prevent infant mortality, sorority President Phyllis Bragg said.
They also hope the videos can be played as on local TV and radio stations as public service announcements, said Sylvia Page, sorority vice president. In addition, the sorority plans to promote awareness about how to prevent infant mortality by sending out messages and the videos on social media, said Denise Jordan, sorority historian.
Funding to make the videos came from a nearly $15,000 grant from Parkview Community Health Improvement Program, Jordan said.
Nurses worked with local company Anchor Films to create the videos, she said. Anchor staff provided a lot of good direction and became so excited about project possibly saving lives that they provided extra work at no cost.
"They got our vision right away," Jordan said.
The videos each cover a separate topic:
* General awareness about infant mortality.
* The importance of prenatal care.
* Safe sleep, such as placing an infant on his or her back on a flat, firm surface. Placing an infant lying face down or on a soft surface are suffocation hazards.
* How breastfeeding helps reduce infant death.
* The dangers of traumatic brain injury.
Two of the videos feature a father figure because research has shown that having a father figure in an infant's life improves the baby's chances of surviving to age 1, sorority member Carmen Moore said.
Sorority members want to present the videos in person whenever possible so they can answer questions, Moore said. The nurses also want to determine what audience members have learned so they can measure the impact of the videos.
More InformationHelping babies
WHAT: The Chi Eta Phi nursing sorority will hold a launch party to present five, 30-second videos members created to show in the community as they work to educate people on how to prevent infant mortality.
WHEN: Noon-3 p.m. Saturday
WHERE: The Event Center at The Summit, 1025 W. Rudisill Blvd.