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City Creates Infant Morality Task Force

COLUMBUS (Mary Jedlicka) -- Columbus city leaders want to make sure more infants in the city and county reach their first birthdays.

While the rest of the country has seen a steady decline in infant mortality rates, Franklin County has slowed down over the past two decades.

On Monday, Columbus City Council announced it is forming a new infant mortality task force to address the crisis.

The goal of the Greater Columbus Infant Mortality Task force is to reduce the rate by nearly 40 percent -- from the 2011 benchmark rate of 9.8 infant deaths for every 1,000 live births to 6 per 1,000.

The task force will also work on cutting the racial disparity gap in half.

In Franklin County, the top three causes of death for infants are preterm and low birth weight, birth defects and sudden infant death syndrome.

The task force has scheduled its first meeting for January 2014 and will continue with eight half-day sessions. The group hopes to have a comprehensive plan sometime next year.

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