Saturday, August 23, 2008

Infant Mortality in Memphis

I just finished watching 20/20's special on Memphis' high infant mortality rate. I can't sleep. God is examining my heart.

Here are some of the highlights of the program:

  • Among the 23 wealthies countries, the U.S. ranks #1 in infant mortality
  • Black babies die at three times the rate of white babies.
  • Memphis ranks #1 in U.S. large cities
  • A baby dies in Memphis every 43 hours
  • As of today, unwed mothers have given birth to 5847 babies. The majority are born at The Med.
  • Caring for a premature baby costs $55,000 on average. Obviously, prenatal care is key.
  • Nationwide, 65% of children grow up without a father
  • There are three zip codes in Memphis where babies die at the same rate as some third world countries (38108 is one of them).
I've lived in Memphis for almost three years now, and right now I'm in shock. I had heard that Memphis ranked high on this list, but nothing really sunk in...until now. What can be done about this? What is my role? I'm sitting right outside of Micah's room. He is sleeping peacefully. I praise God for a healthy baby boy, but it breaks my heart to know that many people in my city are not so fortunate.

The Kingdom of God is now...and it's not yet. All pain and suffering will end one day, but that day has not arrived. There is still evil, brokenness, pain and death. But the Kingdom of God is here now. It hasn't fully arrived, but it is here. Jesus came to preach good news to the poor, to proclaim freedom for the prisoners, to release the oppressed, to bind up the brokenhearted, and to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor (Luke 4/Isaiah 61). Jesus isn't physically with us today, but that does not mean that this gospel work is not happening. Today he empowers His bride to take on this task of reconciliation.

I pray that God's Kingdom would reign in Memphis and would reign over this problem.

Here is an article about the show, along with video clips. Here is a list of organizations who are trying to make a difference. A couple of other good articles are here, here and here.

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