Health organizations in Fresno County today announced a new initiative to reduce premature births.
Right now, 11.1 percent of births in the county occur earlier than 37 weeks—that‘s far more than the state average of 8.3 percent. The new initiative, a collaboration between Fresno State, UC San Francisco, Fresno County and other groups and agencies, endeavors to reduce that to only 7 percent by the year 2025.
Sandra Flores of Fresno State is the director of the initiative.
"We know that babies born too early are experiencing serious health complications and are faced with disabilities that last their lifetime," Flores says. "So we are focusing on healthier birth outcomes to mitigate the health risks that our babies are experiencing."
She says the program will prioritize health interventions during three main phases: "Health and education before pregnancy, care and support during pregnancy, and focus on the continuum of care."
Flores says the initiative should also reduce disparities between ethnic groups. The highest rate of preterm birth in Fresno County is among African Americans.