September is National Infant Mortality Awareness Month

Suzanne Kroll

Part 3 of a 3-part series on global maternal and infant health 

Read part 1 of this series here

Read part 2 of this series here

September is National Infant Mortality Awareness month!  In this third installment of my blog entries, I’ll highlight the latest infant mortality ratings and review initiatives that are addressing the problems and actions that are helping to reduce the risk.

It’s alarming to see the consistent number of infant deaths and stillbirths knowing that many of these deaths are preventable. Let’s take a look at some of the updated facts I gathered from a worldwide ranking bythe CIA World Factbook, a report by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency that outlines infant mortality rates on countries around the world. The rankings were recently updated with 2014 estimated rankings. The United States infant mortality rate ranked 57th with an infant mortality rate of 6.17 per 1000 live births, which is ahead of Poland and behind Serbia. Monaco ranked No. 1, with an infant mortality rate of 1.80 per 1,000 live births. The first ten countries with the lowest infant mortality rates around the globe are 1) Monaco, 2) Japan, 3) Bermuda, 4) Norway, 5) Singapore, 6) Sweden, 7) Czech Republic, 8) Hong Kong, 9) Macau, and 10) Iceland, The countries with the highest infant mortality rates are 1) Afghanistan, 2) Mali, 3) Somalia, 4) Central African Republic, 5) Guinea-Bissau, 6) Chad, 7) Niger, 8) Angola, 9) Burkina Faso,  and 10) Nigeria.1

What initiatives are addressing this problem?

International organizations are continuing to concentrate on educational initiatives that focus on maternal and infant health.  Specifically, providers concentrate on prevention and education by enhancing prenatal care, treating medical ailments and infections before deliveries, and preventing adolescent pregnancies all in the effort to make a bigger impact on infant mortality. In the United States, an infant health resource to check out is the NHSA (National Healthy Start Association) and its Healthy Start Initiative.

GE Healthcare welcomes the efforts to address major causes of maternal and infant mortality and encourages governments, international organizations, and the private sector to continue to make this a priority.

What specific actions can be taken to reduce the risk?

Organizations around the world are playing an important role in the effort to reduce infant deaths by encouraging pregnant women to seek prenatal care in the first trimester and educating communities, providers, pregnant women and family members on factors that affect infant mortality, such as poor nutrition, lack of prenatal care, medical problems, chronic illness, smoking, substance abuse, and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).  It’s important that parents and caregivers understand the risk factors and to always place sleeping infants on their backs. Research has demonstrated that babies who slept on their stomachs or sides were at a higher risk for SIDS. As well, a separate but proximate sleeping environment for the infant is recommended, such as a separate crib in the parents’ bedroom.

I invite you to join the fight against infant mortality!

GE Healthcare’s maternal and infant healthcare solutions align closely with areas where there is the most need for maternal and infant care in the developing and developed world. For details on maternal and infant care solutions available from GE Healthcare today, please visit http://www3.gehealthcare.com/en/Products/Categories/Healthcare_IT/Departmentals/Centricity_Perinataland http://www3.gehealthcare.com/en/Products/Categories/Maternal-Infant_Care\

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1    CIA World Factbook Infant mortality (deaths/1,000 live births) – 2014 estimates


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