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Ohio Prematurity Caucus Forming to Meet Challenge
Date:1/22/2008

Group of Lawmakers Vow to Fight Premature Birth in Ohio

COLUMBUS, Ohio, Jan. 22 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The latest figures are out and Ohio's rate of premature birth is up once again from 12.5% in 2004, to 13% in 2005. A total of 19,321 preterm births were recorded for 2005 and over 20 lawmakers have now vowed to work together for the health of all of Ohio's babies. "We were happy to receive the news that our legislators were creating a non-partisan caucus to increase awareness of the serious health issues related to premature birth and to examine and implement public policy issues relative to prematurity and its prevention," said Dr. Jay Iams, Chair of the March of Dimes Ohio Chapter Prematurity Campaign. Senator Keith Faber (R) of Celina also added, "In addition to the severe emotional and social toll premature births have on Ohio families, there are economic issues to consider as well."

In addition to announcing the formation of the Ohio Prematurity Caucus, the inside of the Ohio Statehouse Atrium will be alive with the display of more than 19,000 signatures from concerned families all over the state. Many are in memory of babies who have died due to premature birth. The March of Dimes Ohio Chapter met its statewide goal of collecting at least 18,600 signatures -- one for every baby born premature in a single year in Ohio. By positioning the banners at all 21 walksites around the state, every walker, family member and volunteer had a chance to show their support for the fight to reduce premature birth, and improve the health of all babies.

The Prematurity Caucus is an organized front against a very costly infant health crisis.

Senator Faber, along with Representative Tim DeGeeter (D) of Parma, Dr. Iams of the College of Medicine and Public Health at The Ohio State University, and representatives of the Ohio Chapter of the March of Dimes will gather in the Atrium of the Ohio Statehouse for a noon press conference to anno
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SOURCE March of Dimes Ohio Chapter
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