D.C. Department of Health Receives March of Dimes Award for Reducing Prematurity Rates

March of Dimes | 3/12/2014, 3:50 p.m.
More babies born in Washington, D.C. have been spared the risks associated with prematurity.
Courtesy of the March of Dimes

“Providence Hospital is pleased to be part of this tremendous move forward for pregnant women and their infants in the District,” said Amy Freeman, President and CEO of Providence Hospital. “It is in this spirit of collaboration, with a goal of creating a healthier District that we continue to move down the road and improve the health of our infants and their families. Providence Hospital is dedicated to these model programs. We look forward to working with the March of Dimes, Department of Health and District partners as we reaffirm the commitment to being part of a healthcare system that truly focuses on promoting health and well being for women and their infants.”

These improvements mean not just healthier babies, but also a potential savings in health care and economic costs to society. Preterm birth is a serious health problem that costs the United States more than $26 billion annually, according to a 2006 Institute of Medicine report. It is the leading cause of newborn death. Babies who survive an early birth often face the risk of lifelong health challenges, such as breathing problems, cerebral palsy, developmental delays and other issues.

According to the March of Dimes, if every state met ASTHO’s 8 percent challenge, America’s preterm birth rate would drop to about 11 percent, giving an estimated 40,000 more babies a healthier start in life. Such a change could save about $2 billion in health care and socio-economic costs.