In an opinion piece published in conjunction with the American Public Health Assocation’s national meeting, former APHA president Deborah Klein Walker poses the following question: Why is infant mortality still a U.S. problem?
The piece can be read here.
Walker points to four keyperiods in the lives of women and their children impact infant mortality: before pregnancy, during pregnancy, at birth and during the first year of life.
She also identifies key activities to help reduce infant mortality: teen pregnancy prevention programs, back to sleep programs, prenatal care, smoking cessation and funding for programs like Healthy Start and the Title V Maternal and Child Health block grant.
In Northeast Florida, great strides have been made in reducing the infant mortality rate. But there still are many areas of concern, which are identified each year through the Fetal and Infant Mortality Review process.
The latest FIMR findings show the following reasons why infant mortality is still a problem in Northeast Florida: life course stressors like a history of abuse, poverty and lack of support during childhood or early life are evident in a number of losses in the region; screening for Healthy Start was not evident in more than 40 percent of the cases examined from 2006-2011; there is a marked disparity in the frequency of contributing factors by race; the most common contributing factor to fetal and infant losses in the region is the mother’s health before and during pregnancy.