Ga's infant mortality rate

Ga's infant mortality rate

Posted in the Dawson Forum

Debby S

Kathleen, GA

#1 Apr 25, 2008
Georgia's infant mortality rate in 2007 was 8.3 (down from 12.6). Nationwide, in 2005, the infant mortality rate was 6.5 (down from 6.8); the worst infant mortality in the industrialized world. We rank 184th out of 226 on the CIA's world fact book for infant mortality (42nd in the world). We have a worse infant mortality rate than Taiwan and Cuba. If it weren't for the fact that we have the best NICUs in the world, we'd be even worse off.
Putting Georgia's numbers into the CIA's figures will give us a good picture of where we stand compared to others with access to the same technology and information for birth. When we do this, we see that Georgia would rank 59th in the world. That's not adjusting for the race gap, since Georgia's black babies die at such a higher rate than our white babies.
I'm thankful Lowndes County is trying to help women, but I think they're missing the big picture. When we place Lowndes County's rate of 11% on the chart, we see they would rank an abysmal 74th in the world. Not for lack of services, so something else must be going on.
The countries with such better infant mortality rates have certain things in common that help more babies to live. Those nations also have women with hypertension, diabetes and gross obesity. So, what's different?
They have lower c-sec rates. Higher c-sec rates are followed by higher infant mortality rates. It's estimated that non-necessary c-secs triple the neonatal mortality rate. Triple! What's Lowndes County's c-sec rate? What are they doing to bring it down? What about Albany? The last I heard from nurses at Phoebe, our c-sec rate was 80%. That's not a typo. 80%. Think about that. Does anyone really think 80% of women can't birth their babies? A doctor in Columbus told me they had a cesarean rate of 90% or higher. How many of those babies died because they had an unnecessary cesarean? Did I mention that since the cesarean rate has been climbing, so has our maternal mortality rate?
The countries with lower infant mortality rates use midwives for low- or moderate-risk women. How about Lowndes County? How many midwives do they have? Are women usually seen by midwives if they are low- or moderate-risk? Midwives work with moms to help them live healthier lifestyles. This brings about a reduction in the main causes of neonatal and infant mortality - preterm birth and low birth weight. Homebirth midwives have been proven time and time again to be healthier for moms and babies, yet Georgia's Dept. of Human Resources won't license them. If Georgia wants to see a large reduction in our infant mortality rate, they could advocate for more hospital midwives and ask for homebirth midwives to be licensed again.
These safer countries have higher breastfeeding rates. It's estimated that for every baby who doesn't receive breastmilk through the first year, there are 4 to 5 out of 1,000 who die because of the formula. The deaths aren't listed as formula deaths. They are listed as pneumonia, respiratory distress syndrome, necrotizing enterocolitis, etc. All these are more prevalent and more deadly in formula-fed babies. America had about 4 million babies born in 2005. If half received formula instead of, or in addition to, breastmilk, how many of those 2 million died because of this simple life-saving choice?
Car seats saved the lives of 451 babies in 2004 because there are laws in all 50 states which require it. None of us want any babies to die. We're looking at a neonatal mortality rate that is 3 times higher for non-necessary cesareans, but Lowndes County didn't mention bringing that down. We're looking at a possible large reduction in the number one causes of infant mortality rate by using midwives, but they didn't mention that. And, by encouraging breastfeeding, and discouraging formula, they could save as many as 4 - 5 out of every 1,000 babies! Breastfeeding wasn't mentioned, either.
Debby Sapp

Waycross, GA

#2 Sep 22, 2008
I agree with everything Debbie said.

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