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TAKING ON INFANT MORTALITY

Kate Masiello has kicked off a new phase of a program aimed at lowering Buffalo's infant mortality rate.

The Caring for Tomorrow's Children program, which is sponsored by local health care organizations, including Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Western New York, will provide 1,000 prenatal guides to women at a handful of city health centers.

"This program will link 1,000 women, who may not have normally received prenatal treatment, with quality, regular care during their pregnancy," said Mrs. Masiello.

The guides contain easy-to-understand information in English or Spanish about pregnancy, such as what to do, what not to do and what to expect. They also include coupons, which are redeemable only if a women successfully completes all prenatal visits to her physician, for groceries, baby and maternity clothing, movie passes, a nursing lamp, a camera and bus tokens.

The infant mortality rate in Buffalo is 15 deaths per 1,000 births, the highest of any major metropolitan area in the state, including New York City. It's believed that the high infant death rate is attributable to inadequate prenatal care.

The guides will be provided to women who are fewer than 13 weeks pregnant at the Children's Hospital Women's Health Center, Sisters Hospital Family Health Care Center, Buffalo General Hospital Women's Health Center, Geneva B. Scruggs Community Health Center and the four Erie County clinics: Jesse Nash, Lackawanna, Perry Valley and Roberto Clemente.

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