Basketball tournament raises awareness for infant mortality

CHARLESTON, MO (KFVS) - Missouri Bootheel residents came together on Saturday, Sept 30 to raise awareness for infant mortality by playing basketball.

"This event is particularly important because it emphasizes the importance of how male involvement plays a critical role in reducing infant mortality in our part of the state," Missouri Bootheel Regional Consortium Chief Executive Officer Cynthia Dean said.

We met up with Derrick Lee from Malden who brought his children to the gym to spend some quality time with them and wants people to know this is an issue that more people need to address.

"I just wanted to watch basketball and chill with my son," Lee said. "Being here helps people know about infant mortality. I try to be a positive role model for both my kids, for all my kids."

Teams met at the Charleston Middle School to play a basketball tournament.

Also on hand were several booths handing out information, including the Missouri Delta Medical Center, the Missouri Bootheel Regional Consortium, Bootheel Babies and more.

"We all should work together as community partners because one agency can't solve this important problem by themselves," Dean added. "It's important that we have a collaborative partnership with many agencies such as schools, faith based community, our local health department and other agencies we work close together with."

Dean said their agency works out of six counties. She said this tournament is an important part of celebrating National Infant Mortality Month in September.

"This is a fun event. It also emphasizes the importance of male involvement," Dean said. "Often male involvement is left out of many of our programs targeting children and women. So this event highlights the importance of male involvement but also how they play an important part in reducing infant mortality in our counties."

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