September 5, 2014 at 1:00 am

Make Your Date program touts successes in helping Detroit newborns

Proud sister Mariah, 4, looks over her new brother, Daniel, a week old today, in the arms of their mother, Daniella Page, in their residence in Detroit. Daniella Page is part of Mayor Mike Duggan's Make Your Date program, an initiative to fight infant mortality in Detroit. (Daniel Mears / The Detroit News)

Detroit —Sleeping in his mother’s arms, little Daniel Page was completely unaware Thursday of his celebrity status.

Born seven days ago with a full head of soft dark curls, Daniel is the first baby born in the Make Your Date program — an initiative formed by Mayor Mike Duggan and Detroit health leaders to reduce preterm births in Detroit, which has the highest preterm birth rate in the nation.

“I finally got my boy,” mom Daniella Page said Thursday, totally enraptured with her son.

Daniel’s birth will be celebrated Saturday with a “Mama Palooza” event from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History. Page will be there to show off Daniel and to talk about how Make Your Date helped her deliver a healthy full-term baby. Duggan will be there, too.

“I’m so proud of Daniella for signing up for the program and thrilled that Make Your Date has helped her to deliver a happy, healthy baby,” Duggan said. “Any woman who is expecting and who may be at risk for preterm delivery should come out to hear Daniella’s story and enroll in Make Your Date.”

Moms and mothers-to-be are urged to attend so they can enroll in the program and sign up for health insurance. Daniel’s big sister, 4-year-old Mariah Turner, is looking forward to the free ice cream. There will also be giveaways, museum tours and valet parking.

Duggan said he would form the program after a Detroit News study, published in January, found Detroit has the highest death rate for children 18 and younger in the United States — with the greatest number dying before their first birthday due to complications of preterm birth.

Homicide is the No. 2 reason for the city’s high child death rate.

Preterm birth can cause deadly side effects, including brain hemorrhages, collapsed lungs and failing organs — and Detroit has the highest preterm birth rate in the nation and the highest rate of infant mortality — babies who die before their first birthday, regardless of the cause.

About 250 mothers have enrolled in the Make Your Date campaign since it launched in May. Moms who sign up have access to a range of support and evidence-based medical services at no additional cost from the Detroit Medical Center, St. John Providence Health System and Henry Ford Health System.

Make You Date moms attend preterm birth prevention education classes and get regular ultrasounds to identify the potential need for progesterone, a treatment that may reduce the risk of preterm birth by 45 percent in women with a short cervix.

Page enjoyed meeting with other pregnant women at group prenatal care meetings. A single mom, she would have been on her own without the support of the group.

“If you don’t bring your support with you,” Page said, “you have your (support group) there with you.”

kbouffard@detroitnews.com