Public health officials are applauding the Ohio House’s unanimous passage of a bill that tackles infant mortality and maternal health.
The legislation would give $6 million to the Ohio Department of Health to start a grant program for group prenatal care services. That funding prioritizes projects in Franklin County and other areas of the state with the highest rates of infant mortality.
Franklin County's assistant public health commissioner Alexandria Jones says the bill’s proposal focuses on a few areas, like lead exposure, that are critical for maternal and infant health.
“From the smoking cessation services that are offered to early entry into prenatal care, we know we need the comprehensive package," Jones said. "We still are in a crisis in our community around how often our babies are dying, especially our black babies in Franklin County dying at 2.5 times the rate of white babies."
The bill also provides funding for dental visits.
It now moves to the Ohio Senate for consideration.