Panel Advocates Home Visits For Pregnant Girls

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WASHINGTON--The National Commission to Prevent Infant Mortality last week launched an initiative to encourage the spread of home-visiting programs for pregnant teenagers and other women at risk of delivering low-birthweight babies.

The Resource Mothers Development Project, which is being funded with $100,000 from Nestle USA, will try to make preventive health care and social services more accessible to poor, teenage, and non-English speaking women.

Under the project, which has been piloted successfully in states including Florida and Virginia, volunteers make frequent home visits to women who might not otherwise receive prenatal care or services, said Madalene Baggett, spokesman for the commission.

'People Helping People'

"Resource mothers have been one of the focal points of this commission because it's people helping people-not through high technology, or government intervention, but through effective, humane care," Gov. Lawton Chiles of Florida, the panel's chairman, said here last week in a statement announcing the project.

As part of the project, which also has the backing of Surgeon General Antonia C. Novello, the 16-member bipartisan commission will develop an implementation manual, curriculum sourcebook, and training guide to help community groups establish their own programs.

Development of the materials is expected to take nine months to a year, and will rely on suggestions from maternal- and child-health experts and community leaders.

After materials are disseminated through community health organizations, state and local health departments, schools of nursing, and private volunteer organizations, the commission will begin providing technical assistance, including regional conferences and on-site training, Ms. Baggett said.

The commission's partnership with Nestle, which has been the subject of boycotts protesting its marketing of infant formula to low-income women in the Third World, "obviously wasn't entered into lightly," Ms. Baggett said.

She said the panel is "comfortable" with the partnership. --M.L.

Vol. 11, Issue 03, Page 9

Published in Print: September 18, 1991, as Panel Advocates Home Visits For Pregnant Girls
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