JACKSON, Miss (WJTV) – The Mississippi Department of Health (MSDH) has initiated a new program to help patients as the future of hospitals in the Delta remains uncertain.

In August 2022, the Delta lost a NICU where once 150 were treated each year. The Delta Health-Medical Center also closed is cardiac rehabilitation department, and they’re operating on one floor.

Closures of these units have made expecting mothers have little to no choice in locating proper care during delivery.

Leaders with MSDH decided to take the role in providing those expecting mothers with Health Mother/Healthy Babies Program, which consist of mothers receiving help from MSDH nurses in their homes during pregnancy and delivery.

Liz Sharlot, Director of Communications at MSDH, said this program officially kicked-off in July 2022.

“Healthy Moms/Healthy Babies provides care management and home visiting services for pregnant women and infants to help address high risk medical, psychosocial and nutritional needs,” said Sharlot.

According to Sharlot, there are around 122 participants living in the Mississippi Delta area and more than 400 families currently participating in the program in the state.

“Some of the priority risk criteria include history of preterm birth, low birth weight, significant birth defects, substance use, chronic conditions such as diabetes and hypertension, so we want to be as supportive as we can,” Sharlot explained.

Other women who are also eligible for the Healthy Mother/Health Babies Program include women who:

  • Have a baby prior to 37 weeks of gestation
  • Have a chronic illness such as diabetes or hypertension
  • Have tobacco, alcohol or substance abuse
  • Live in an unsafe environment, such as inadequate housing or being a victim or violence or abuse.
  • They are 19 or younger and pregnant

For more information on the Healthy Mother/Healthy Babies Program, click here.