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Jacksonville’s Dubious Distinction

Posted on June 7, 2008

Jacksonville is recognizing a dubious distinction.

The city’;s infant mortality rate tops all of Florida.  Within the black community, the numbers are nearly twice that of whites, according to findings by the Jacksonville Community Council Inc.

In 2006, 130 infants died before their first birthday in Jacksonville.  The mortality rate overall in the city is 9.5% with the rate for whites 7.2% and for blacks 12.7% in 2006.

“Jacksonville has the highest rate in the state,” said Helen Jackson who is the JCCI Board of Directors President. “This is not something we want to be known for.”

Why is this happening?   Access to decent food is one reason.  Our increasing gasoline prices will only make that problem worse. 

A lack in access to medical care compounded by poverty, crime and lacking education, all feed upon itself, giving Jacksonville the worst marks in Florida for how it takes care of those without.

Racism, poverty, poor housing, crime, poor education, access to medical care and joblessness is killing our babies,” said Burgess to the Florida Times Union.

One suggestion is to create an Ombudsperson program  to advocate for expectant mothers.  More grocery stores would help. So would programs that teach people how to grow their own local, fresh food, sort of like Peace Corps programs that are traditionally sucessful in undeveloped countries. 

The solution will truly show what kind of people we really are.