EAST LANSING, Mich. — Hundreds of Michigan public and private health officials met to prevent the deaths of infants and their mothers.
The second annual Maternal Infant Health Summit started March 12 in East Lansing with the goal of aligning priorities between public and private organizations to lower mortality rates.
Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced her plan to help at the summit with the goal of zero unnecessary deaths and zero disparities.
The Mother Infant Health & Equity Improvement Plan is available online for Michiganders to read in full.
More than 500 health officials were expected to attend the summit through March 13.
Michigan's infant mortality rate in 2017 ended at 6.8 deaths per 1000 live births, an increase from the previous year according to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.
Nationally the average is 5.9 deaths.
MDHHS also reported the state's pregnancy-related mortality rate was 11.6 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births.
Of those, they determined 44 percent were preventable.
Cradle Kalamazoo spearheads efforts in Southwest Michigan to lower the infant mortality rate in area communities.
They said Kalamazoo is one of the worst areas in the state for black infant mortality, with black babies being four times more likely to die than white babies.
Multiple agencies work together with Cradle Kalamazoo to their goal of cutting the infant mortality rate among babies of color in Kalamazoo to 6.0 (per 1,000 live births) by 2020.
They offer a variety of help and services to expectant mothers and families.