Friday, April 4th, 2014
A number of programs that send trained volunteers to the homes of new moms to help out and dispense advice and support will receive federal funding for another 6 months, following a Congressional vote to extend the funds. More from The New York Times:
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Similar community models [to a New Hampshire program called Good Beginnings] make the Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting Programs funded through the federal-state partnership successful, said Kris Perry, executive director of the First Five Years Fund. “In Utah, state organizations noticed a high rate of infant mortality among the Asian Pacific Islander population. For that group, the best messenger is the aunt or grandmother — a registered nurse might not be as effective as a trained parent educator.” Federal funds went to a program designed to understand the community it was trying to reach. “They were able to greatly reduce infant mortality rates,” Ms. Perry said. In the mid-2000s, the infant mortality rate for Pacific Islander families in Utah was more than double the statewide rate. Just a few years later, it was lower than the rate in the rest of the state, with nearly 48 percent more babies living.
In a bipartisan vote, Congress approved a six-month extension of the federal funding that goes to the programs, which would have run out in September 2013. That means it will be months before program directors and employees will once again have to turn their attention to securing their funding for another year — months that can be spent on work that increases family self-sufficiency, reduces medical costs and even lessens the need for remedial education for the children in participating families.
Thursday, December 19th, 2013
Federal researchers announced this week that the American infant mortality rate, which is used as a way to judge our overall health, dropped in 2010, the last year it was measured. But the drop wasn’t as sharp as researchers had hoped, as NBC News reports:
Birth defects and low birth weight were the two leading causes of newborn death, the survey by the National Center for Health Statistics found. And babies born to teenage mothers were the most likely to weigh too little, the NCHS, part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said.
They report that the U.S. infant mortality rate was 6.14 infant deaths per 1,000 births in 2010, which is just 4 percent lower than the rate of 6.39 in 2009. This adds up to 24,572 babies who died at or around birth in 2010.
The United States may be one of the richest countries in the world, but has a very high rate of infant mortality compared to other wealthy countries — and compared even to some not-so-rich countries. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) consistently finds the U.S. near the bottom of its list of 34-member countries on this measure.
The U.S. infant mortality rate is well above the OECD average of four deaths per 1,000. In Iceland, just 1.6 babies out of every 1,000 die and in Sweden, Japan, and Finland, it’s around two per 100,000.
In January of this year, the Institute of Medicine had released data showing the U.S. infant mortality rate was more than double that of many other developed countries.
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Wednesday, May 8th, 2013
A study conducted by the international organization Save the Children has found that more than 1 million children around the world die the same day they are born, with the U.S. having the highest number of birth-day deaths in the industrialized world.
The 2013 State of the World’s Mothers report focuses in on newborn health and the theme “Surviving the First Day.” A new Birth Day Risk Index ranks 186 countries by the chances a baby will die on the first day of life.
The United States is a riskier place to be born than 68 other countries, according to the new analysis conducted by Save the Children and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.
In the industrialized world, the United States has 60 percent of all first-day deaths, but only 38 percent of live births. Approximately 11,300 U.S. babies died on the first day of life in 2011, the report says. Some U.S. counties have first-day death rates common in the developing world, where 98 percent of all first-day deaths occur.
“It’s hard to imagine the depth of one mother’s pain in losing her baby the very day she gives birth, let alone a million times over,” said Carolyn Miles, President & CEO of Save the Children in a statement. “Yet, this report is full of hope. It shows there is a growing movement to save newborn lives and growing evidence that we can do it—saving up to 75 percent of them with no intensive care whatsoever.”
Since 1990, overall child mortality has dropped dramatically around the world, from 12 million annual deaths to less than 7 million. But the report shows that lack of global attention on newborns has translated into a much slower decline in newborn mortality. In sub-Saharan Africa, as many newborns die now as two decades ago.
Globally, a rising share of child deaths—43 percent—now occur in the newborn period, or first month of life. The new report finds that more than a third of newborn deaths, or 15 percent of all child deaths, occur on the same day—the first.
The three leading causes of newborn death are prematurity, birth complications and severe infections. Among wealthier countries, higher U.S. rates of prematurity contribute to higher newborn mortality. Whether in the United States or the developing world, the poorest mothers are more likely to lose a newborn baby, the report finds.
Image: Sad doctor, via Shutterstock
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Friday, January 11th, 2013
A new analysis by the Institute of Medicine of global health care costs and outcomes has revealed the troubling statistic that the infant mortality rate in the U.S. is more than double the rates in Japan, Sweden, and some other developed countries. America lags behind 16 other countries, despite the fact that infant mortality rates have been steadily dropping over the last decade. From The Washington Post:
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“Although U.S. infant mortality declined by 20 percent between 1990 and 2010,” the report notes, “other high-income countries experienced much steeper declines and halved their infant mortality rates over those two decades.”
As to what explains the high infant mortality rate, the researchers aren’t quite sure. They say it is not explained by ethnic diversity in the United States. While U.S. minorities do tend to have a higher infant mortality rate, non-Hispanic whites in the United States also have worse outcomes than those in peer nations.
Image: Earth, via Shutterstock
Monday, December 12th, 2011
CNN has named its “Hero of the Year,” and the winner is an American midwife who has helped thousands of impoverished Indonesian women have healthy pregnancies and births.
“Mother Robin,” as Robin Lim is called by the locals, offers free prenatal care, birthing services, and medical aid to women who could otherwise not afford such care. Lim’s work is motivated by the staggeringly high maternal and infant mortality rate in Indonesia.
“Every baby’s first breath on Earth could be one of peace and love. Every mother should be healthy and strong. Every birth could be safe and loving. But our world is not there yet,” Lim said during “CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute,” which took place at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles and recognized Lim and the other top 10 CNN Heroes of 2011.
Many women in the developing world do not have access to contraception or maternal care. According to the United Nations Population Fund, three out of five women giving birth in South Asia do so without a skilled birth attendant on hand.
(Image via: http://latitudes.nu/)
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