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The BLUES Project: Helping Keep Babies Alive

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(Memphis) A program called the BLUES Project is fighting against infant mortality in Shelby County.

The county has the second highest rate of infant mortality in Tennessee.

The only place with a higher infant mortality rate in the state is Van Buren County, just outside Chattanooga.

In Memphis, 178 women are participating in the Blues Project, which aims to help mothers take better care of themselves and their babies.

“The event today is so the moms can be celebrated for doing their part,” said Director Linda Moses-Simmons at an event at the Hollywood Community Center Tuesday

They are moms, like Keerika Torry, who want better for their babies.

“I enrolled in the Blues Project because I realized there are a lot of things I just didn't know,” said Torry.

African-American babies are three times more likely to die than Caucasian infants less than a year old.

“We have a high poverty rate. We have a high crime rate. High teen pregnancy rate,” said Moses-Simmons about Memphis.

Moses-Simmons is trying to keep babies from dying in Memphis.

The program serves almost 200 women and has room for 200 more, teaching women the basics, “Education that includes sexual disease prevention, birth spacing and breast-feeding.”

“When I had her, she slept on her stomach and I thought that was OK but when I found out that it's better for them to be on the backs,” said Torry.

While the program can't reach all women, participants like KeeErika are spreading the message to others back in their communities.

“The things I’ve learned, I talk to them about.”

“We tell these moms that come to these programs ‘in doing this intervention, you're doing this your part to decrease infant mortality.' So, you are helping to make Memphis a better place’,” said Moses-Simmons.

If you’re a woman who is less than 28 weeks pregnant and are willing to participate in all the programs provided by the Blues Project, click here or call 901-448-3750