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Group Attacks Tarrant County High Infant Death Rate

By BJ Austin, KERA Reporter

Dallas, TX – Tarrant County's infant mortality rate is one of the highest in the state, and is sparking a new outreach program aimed at mothers.

In 2003, the latest year for which figures are available, Tarrant County recorded 189 infant deaths. Jerry Roberson, Chairman of the Tarrant County Infant Mortality Network, says that's unacceptable for a growing, vibrant, metropolitan area.

Roberson: In regards to infant mortality, it has one of the worst rates in the state of Texas overall. And there are pockets within Tarrant County where babies are dying at higher rates than some third world countries; particularly the African American babies.

Roberson says the Infant Mortality Network is using a 94 thousand dollar federal grant to launch an outreach campaign, educating and encouraging women to adopt healthier habits for healthy babies.