Screening for Critical Congenital Heart Disease added to required Idaho newborn screenings starting July 1

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Effective July 1, Idaho medical providers will screen all newborns for critical congenital heart disease (CCHD) as part of the panel of required screenings in the state.

Congenital heart defects are the most common type of birth defect and can range from mild to very serious. The very serious heart defects are referred to as critical congenital heart disease, which includes a collection of defects that are present at birth and involve structural problems in the heart or problems with blood flow through the heart. Congenital heart defects account for up to 30 percent of infant deaths caused by birth defects. In Idaho, an estimated 55 babies are born each year with critical congenital heart disease.

Babies born with critical congenital heart disease may appear to be healthy at first, which means they may be sent home with their families before their heart defect is detected. These babies are at risk for having serious complications within those first few days or weeks and often require emergency care.

“Newborn screening helps give babies the best start in life,” said Jacquie Watson, Maternal and Child Health Section Manager in the Division of Public Health. “Early identification and treatment of these serious heart defects means that more babies will live to celebrate their first birthdays and will continue to thrive as they reach other important milestones.”  Continue reading

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Second annual Idaho Breastfeeding Summit planned for June 28-29; register by June 7

By Mimi Fetzer, Idaho WIC Breastfeeding Coordinator
and board member of the Idaho Breastfeeding Coalition

A new partnership has been formed between the Idaho Breastfeeding Coalition and the Department of Health and Welfare’s Maternal and Child Health (MCH) program. I worked with Maternal and Child Health Section Manager Jacquie Watson to discuss ideas to increase collaboration between the Coalition and MCH. This enabled MCH and WIC to use their sections’ resources to better serve the breastfeeding population and has contributed to the expected success of the second Idaho Breastfeeding Summit in June 28-29.

The Coalition is in final preparations for the Summit, which will be held at St. Alphonsus Medical Center in Boise.  Speakers and topics have been selected to build on the momentum of last year’s summit. You can see the agenda hereContinue reading

Please help Idaho’s children by reporting suspected abuse or neglect (It’s the law!)

041117ChildAbuseKeeping children safe is one of our primary goals at the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare. This month is National Child Abuse Prevention Month, so it’s a good time talk about what you should do if you think a child might be neglected or abused.

If you suspect a child is abused or neglected, what should you do?

We hope you’ll care enough to call 1-855-552-KIDS. If you even suspect that a child is being mistreated, you are required by law to call and report it. Your call is confidential, and you don’t have to prove neglect or abuse. That’s the job of law enforcement and social workers. You just need to let us know you think there might be an issue, so our child protection staff can start looking into it. Continue reading

Idaho earns an ‘A’ on the March of Dimes Premature Birth Report Card

Each year, the March of Dimes releases a “Premature Birth Report Card” for every state and territory in the nation to help raise public awareness and measure progress toward reducing premature births. Each state’s premature birth rate is compared to the March of Dimes goal and given a grade based on the comparison.

The premature birth rate is calculated by taking the number of premature births divided by the total number of live births with known gestational age and multiplied by 100. Idaho’s premature birth rate for 2014 was 8.1, which is equal to the March of Dimes goal for 2020. Idaho was one of only four states that received an “A” report card rating. The other states are Oregon, Washington and Vermont.  Continue reading