Milwaukee Health Department hopes to draw more attention to home visiting programs

Program helps parents after child is born.

MILWAUKEE -
The Milwaukee Health Department is hoping to draw more attention to its home visiting programs.
 
The home visiting programs don't provide medical services, but consist of health department workers regularly visiting pregnant women, expecting fathers, and/or their families through the prenatal process and after a child is born.
 
The goal of the programs is to help parents through pregnancy and promote a better understanding of child development. 
In some cases, the visits last until children are two or three years old.
 
The oldest of the home visiting programs was started in 2006.
 
On Wednesday, the health department announced a new advertising campaign, using posters and transit shelters, meant to draw awareness to the services. The launch came as Infant Mortality Awareness Month comes to a close.
 
"What we're trying to do is reduce infant mortality," said Mayor Tom Barrett. "We want more babies being able to blow out the candle on their first birthday cake." 
 
Bevan Baker, Milwaukee Commissioner of Health, said roughly 100 infants die in Milwaukee each year. He said numbers have improved, but the city is still working to reduce the rate -- especially among African Americans. 
 
Baker touted the home visits as one way to help ensure healthier babies. 
 
He said 93% of the babies born to families in the program last year were born full term, and 95% of them were born at a healthy weight. 
 
The ads are part of the Strong Baby Campaign, which also previously included advertisements raising awareness about healthy practices for babies, like breastfeeding and prenatal care.
 
The services provided through the home visiting programs are free.
 
Families wanting to know if they're eligible for the home visits, or wanting more information on the programs, should visit: homevisitmke.com.
 

 
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