(By Delegates Hatfield, Brown, Perdue, Mahan,

Amores, Michael and Trump)

[Introduced January 30, 2003; referred to the

Committee on Rules.]

Recognizing the many contributions of the March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation to the State of West Virginia and its campaign to reduce premature births with the expansion of the West Virginia Birth Defects Surveillance System.

Whereas, The March of Dimes is a national voluntary health agency founded in 1938, whose mission is to improve the health of babies by preventing both birth defects and infant mortality and funds programs of research, community services, education and advocacy to save babies. Because premature birth is the leading cause of neonatal death, the March of Dimes is investing $75,000,000.00 to launch a five-year campaign to develop a coordinated national response to the serious and wide spread problems of babies born prematurely. In addition to mortality, preterm birth is a major determinant of illness and disability among infants including development delays, chronic respiratory problems and vision and hearing impairments; and
Whereas, According to the March of Dimes, the West Virginia preterm birth rates increased by 28% in the last decade between 1990 and 2000, and the rates of low birth weight births have also steadily increased statewide from 6.8% in 1991 to 8.4% in 2000. Nearly one half of the causes of preterm births are known and over three-fourths of the causes of birth defects are not known; nationally, the March of Dimes and its allied partners are hoping to reduce preterm births by at least 15% and hoping to reduce the number of children born with birth defects through researching causes and prevention tools as well as eliminating barriers to adequate prenatal health care coverage; and
Whereas, Surveillance is needed to monitor infant health and the incidence of birth defects and to identify communities and populations especially at risk. State based birth defects surveillance systems help health officials assess needs, deliver services and assess the progress of prevention programs; therefore, be it
Resolved by the House of Delegates:
That the Senate hereby recognizes the many contributions of the March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation to the State of West Virginia and commends the March of Dimes Prematurity Campaign to reduce the number of premature births and supports the implementation of the expansion of the West Virginia birth Defects Surveillance System; and, be it
Further Resolved, That the Clerk is hereby directed to forward a copy of this resolution to the appropriate representatives of the West Virginia State Chapter of the March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation.