March of Dimes Volunteers Gather at State House to Advocate for Moms and Babies
Megan Branham, Director of Program Services , (803) 403-8522, MBranham@marchofdimes.com
Columbia, S.C. , March 14, 2012
On March 7, 2012 March of Dimes volunteers from across the state gathered in Columbia to speak out about key advocacy issues affecting mothers and babies in South Carolina. The volunteers observed the House in session and met individually with their elected officials to convey the importance of improving access to health services under publicly funded supported health coverage.
Representative Rita Allison (Dist. No. 36, Spartanburg County) and March of Dimes Legislative Consultant, Coretta Bedsole provided opening remarks.
“March of Dimes Advocacy Day is so important for volunteers because we have the opportunity to communicate with our legislators about our priorities to improve the health of moms and babies in South Carolina” said Megan Branham, Director of Program Services and Advocacy and Government Affairs. “All of our volunteers were pleased that our legislators made themselves accessible to hear our concerns. Our priority is to ensure access to healthcare services for moms and babies in South Carolina. Programs that prevent infant mortality, birth defects and prematurity and that promote healthy pregnancies and healthy children are vital. By focusing resources in these areas, South Carolina will ultimately save money because healthier children require fewer services, have less doctor’s visits, and are less likely to have learning disabilities.”
The March of Dimes Advocacy and Government Affairs agenda focuses on public policies and programs that relate to the Foundation's mission -- improving the health of infants and families. The South Carolina Chapter has chosen two main priorities for 2012: support for House Bill 4317, legislation that provides oversight for state funded home visitation programs and protection of Department of Health and Human Services as well as Department of Health and Environmental Control funding to ensure continued access to services for pregnant women and children.
Home visiting programs offer a variety of family-focused services to expectant parents and families with new babies and young children. They address issues such as maternal and child health, positive parenting practices, safe home environments and access to services. With continued budget cuts at DHHS and DHEC, maternal and child health services are at risk of being cut, thus providing less families with needed support in South Carolina.
Each year, the South Carolina Chapter of the March of Dimes invests more than 1.5 million dollars in mission initiatives statewide, including research grants and local community services. Through these program services, the March of Dimes continues working to prevent birth defects and infant death, reduce South Carolina’s premature birth rate, increase access to prenatal care and educate men and women about having healthy babies.
The March of Dimes is the leading nonprofit organization for pregnancy and baby health. With chapters nationwide and its premier event, March for Babies®, the March of Dimes works to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality. For the latest resources and information, visit marchofdimes.com or nacersano.org. Find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.