Multi-Level Evaluation of a Perinatal Health Program in Rural Southeast Georgia

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Journal of the Georgia Public Health Association


Problem: Infant mortality has declined steadily in the past decade, however, significant disparities associated with lack of adequate perinatal health services and barriers to access disproportionately impact women residing in rural areas. In Georgia, data suggest significant challenges with respect to birth outcomes, and this problem seems to be exacerbated in rural regions of state. The objective of this presentation is to report on the impact of a regional perinatal health care collaborative implemented in rural southeast Georgia.

Method: Analysis of pre-intervention and post-intervention birth outcomes (gestational age, birth weight and infant mortality) served as the focal point programmatic evaluation. Differences in mean gestational age and mean birth weight were analyzed using a t-test (α = 0.05). Proportional differences in low birth weight and infant mortality were assessed using the chi-square test (α = 0.05). Differences were investigated relative to race (white and non-white).

Results: Analysis of white participants showed no significant difference in any birth outcomes investigated. Furthermore, analysis of non-white PHP participants suggested significant improvements in all birth weight (p < 0.001), gestational age (p = 0.007), low birth weight (p = 0.002), and infant mortality (p = 0.007).

Conclusion: The perinatal health program in southeast Georgia demonstrated considerable effectiveness as measured through pre-intervention and post-intervention birth outcomes. The potential for improved health outcomes of high risk pregnant women and infants as a result of adequate perinatal care may also lead to the achievement of Healthy People 2010 within this region.