Guilford County officials have approved funds to support a community-based doula program to combat infant mortality.

The Board of Commissioners voted unanimously last week to approve nearly $38,000 for the program. Every Baby Guilford will use the funds to hire five community doulas.

The nonprofit works to address health outcomes and racial disparities.

Health Equity Manager Monét Kees says doulas provide guidance and support before, during and after pregnancy for families.

"We are really hoping to be able to provide services to patients and community members who would most benefit," Kees says. "When we think about people who would most benefit, we're thinking about people who may be at the margin."

The organization's goal is to reduce infant mortality disparities in the county by 50% by 2026.

According to the N.C. State Center for Health, Black infants were three times more likely to die than white infants in the county between 2017 and 2021.

Kees says the doula program aims to support 60 births over the next year.

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