Beginning in the 1990s, Delaware’s infant mortality rate was increasing while the national trend was decreasing. This trend prompted Governor Ruth Ann Minner to convene an Infant Mortality Task Force in June 2004. In May 2005 the Task Force’s final report put forth a three-year plan with 20 recommendations to reduce the high infant mortality rate in Delaware. The plan called for the creation of the Delaware Healthy Mother & Infant Consortium (DHMIC) to help ensure that the recommendations were put into effect.
The Consortium is charged with the following directives:
- Provide advice and support to state agencies, hospitals and health care practitioners regarding their roles in reducing infant mortality and improving the health of women of childbearing age and infants.
- Facilitate collaborative partnerships among public health agencies, hospitals, health care practitioners, and all other interested agencies and organizations to carry out recommended infant mortality improvement strategies.
- Recommend standards of care to ensure healthy women of childbearing age and infants.
- Coordinate efforts to address health disparities related to the health of women of childbearing age and infants.
- Oversee development and implementation of research activities to better understand causes of infant mortality.
- Coordinate efforts to prevent conditions and behaviors that lead to unhealthy women of childbearing age and infants.
- Meet semiannually with the Secretary of Health and Social Services to review progress, priorities and barriers related to the Consortium’s purpose.
- Recommend legislation and regulations that will enhance the health of women of childbearing age and infants.
- On an annual basis, issue a report to the Governor on the status of the health of women of childbearing age and infants and the progress in implementing recommendations of the Infant Mortality Task Force.
The anticipated results of these interventions include:
- Increase in the number of insured among high-risk women and infants
- Expanded access to prenatal care through target outreach and interventions
- Enhanced data collection and surveillance around maternal and infant health
- Improved prevention and management of chronic diseases among pregnant women
- Improved prevention and early detection of birth defects and genetic disorders
- Expanded access to comprehensive reproductive health and family planning services for the uninsured and underinsured
- Implementation of a statewide educational campaign and cultural competence curriculum for providers