The good health of mothers, infants, and children should be the primary aim of the society. Their well-being influences the health of the next generations. Still, the concept of maternal, infant, and child health epidemiology is complicated. Nevertheless, the positive tendencies of prevention and intervention are developing. A good example here is a program Healthy People 2020. It suggests the strategies focused on the specific outcomes such as reducing maternal mortality during pregnancy or increasing vaccination rates among infants and children. Epidemiologists are also developing novel methods to assess outcomes of the interventions.
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Epidemiology of Maternal, Infant, and Child Health in Maryland
The community plays a major role in health epidemiology (Krieger, 2011). The health issues within Maryland are governed by the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Its recent “Maternal Mortality Review” (Hogan, Rutherford, & Schrader, 2016) reveals that Maryland still has a higher maternal mortality rate than the average around the country. Unfortunately, it is far from the Healthy People 2020 goal with 11.4 deaths per 100,000 live births (“Maryland vital statistics 2015”, 2016). The infant mortality rate did not change much in the recent years. As of 2015, it was 6.7 per 1000 live births which is higher than the average in the country (Hogan, & Rutherford, 2016).
Initiative to Improve Maternal, Infant, and Child Health in Maryland
Maryland establishes some programs aimed at the support of healthcare. One of the initiatives that I consider among the most perspective is Fetal and Infant Mortality Review (FIMR) Program (2013). It gathers information on infant deaths and compiles the summary of the vital statistics which is later analyzed by health and social experts. The idea is to provide guidance basing on the statistics’ data. After that, the Community Action Team studies the recommendations, selects the primary ones and works on the implementation of them into the healthcare system.
Any practical problem needs a thorough theoretical investigation. Consequently, a careful study of statistical information of infant mortality and the research of its reasons may result in methods of improving the situation (Simmons, Rubens, Darmstadt, & Gravett, 2010).
Leading Health Indicators
Speaking of leading health Indicators, I would stop at two. The first one deals with maternal, infant, and child health (Maternal, infant, and child health, 2014). The second one is concentrated on the problem of nutrition, physical activity and obesity (Nutrition, physical activity, and obesity, 2014).
Maternal, infant, and child health is probably among the most important indicators. Healthy mothers are more likely to give birth to healthy children. In their turn, healthy children, with a suitable upbringing and care, will form healthy society and nation. Some health problems, if discovered in childhood, can be treated more successfully. It will also contribute to general health improvement.
Another indicator worth of attention is nutrition, physical activity and obesity. The wrong nutrition in the early years and lack of physical activity, result in childhood obesity, which is not a sign of health. Thus, attention should be given to proper nutrition and the formation of healthy habits both in food and daily activities.
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Any problem may have a positive outcome only after the complex of actions is taken. It is particularly the case about the health care. A system approach is necessary to influence the issue of maternal, infant, and child health. Every community may need particular methods which consider the local peculiarities in demography and environment.
Fetal and Infant Mortality Review (FIMR) Program (2013). Web.
Hogan, L., & Rutherford, B.K. (2016). Maryland vital statistics annual report 2015. Web.
Hogan, L., Rutherford, B.K., & Schrader, D.R. (2016). Maryland maternal mortality review: 2016 annual report. Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Web.
Krieger, N. (2011). Epidemiology and the people’s health: Theory and context. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
Maryland vital statistics: Infant mortality in Maryland. (2016). Web.
Simmons, L. E., Rubens, C. E., Darmstadt, G. L., & Gravett, M. G. (2010). Preventing preterm birth and neonatal mortality: Exploring the epidemiology, causes, and interventions. Seminars in Perinatology, 34(6),408–415.
US Department of Health and Human Services (2014). Healthy people 2020 leading health indicators: Maternal, infant, and child health. Web.
US Department of Health and Human Services (2014). Healthy people 2020 leading health indicators: Nutrition, physical activity, and obesity. Web.