Education & Training, Food, Hunger, Sustainability, Health & Wellbeing

Are Infant Mortality Rates on the Rise?

Published on 15th December 2021.

How Various Countries Contend with This Growing Issue

The infant mortality rating system is based on the number of infants that die before their first birthday. The rate is established for every 1000 babies. Currently, the worldwide infant mortality rate stands at 26.693. When infant mortality began to be tracked in 1950, the rate was 146.687, so we can see the positive impact enhanced medical procedures and medical science has brought to the world. Global infant mortality rates drop annually, but what about individual countries? Is there an issue with infant morality rates in various parts of the world?

Countries with the Highest Infant Mortality Rates

First, we will look at countries with the highest infant mortality rates and sitting at the very top of the spectrum is Afghanistan with 106.7. That is a staggering number considering the previously mentioned global infant mortality rates. Other countries at the bottom of the list are Somalia at 88.03, Central African Republic with 84.22, and Niger with 68.12. These nations have generally always had difficulty maintaining and reducing infant mortality rates.

Infant Mortality

Countries with the Lowest Infant Mortality Rates

In stark contrast to the highest rates, various other countries maintain very low infant mortality rates. Topping the list is Slovenia with 1.53, Singapore with 1.56, Iceland with 1.66, Monaco with 1.78, and Japan with a rating of 1.92.

What is the Common Denominator?

It is easy to see there is a great divide between the highest rates and countries with the lowest infant morality rates, but what is the reason behind this growing issue? The truth comes down to access to proper health care. Prenatal care is the benchmark of having a healthy baby. The countries at the top of the list tend to have far better healthcare systems than those ranking lowest in the infant mortality rating scale.

In the United States, for example, government programs such as Pregnancy Medicaid ensure even expectant mothers with little or no income receive adequate care and access to proper prenatal vitamins. Additionally, these programs often include transportation to and from doctor visits to help keep the baby’s health in check. Upon the birth of the baby, the program continues to allow the mother time to heal and provide the baby with adequate doctor visits during the first year of life. The United States currently has an infant mortality rating of 5.8.

Child Nutrition Programs

Countries such as Afghanistan have yet to invest in proper healthcare options for expectant mothers. many children in rural areas of Afghanistan do not survive their first year simply due to the inability to get the child to the doctor. There is a severe lack of clinics and qualified medical professionals in rural Afghanistan nations, but in recent years, there has been an effort to establish more clinics for children and expectant mothers, so we may soon see countries like Afghanistan begin to reduce infant mortality rates.

Lack of Education

Another factor that faces high infant mortality rates in certain counties is education of its citizens. Underdeveloped countries do not invest in proper education. Where rural schools are thankfully becoming the norm, many mothers must simply rely on traditional births. Traditional births often involve very little training. Customs are simply passed down. In the event of even a simple variation in the birth, the lack of knowledge can lead to baby dying at birth.

For example, when a baby is born not breathing, hospital staff in developed countries are trained to slap the baby on the back to remove mucus from the lungs. In most instances, this will allow the baby to catch its breath. However, when this knowledge is unknown, the baby will die leaving grieving parents wondering what went wrong.

Midwife Training

Countries at the lower end of the infant mortality spectrum are beginning to realize that proper training of midwives is essential to alleviating the issue with traditional births. Many mothers in underdeveloped countries are prone to distrust medical staff and avoid hospital births. Additionally, they rely on traditional medicines to contend with common infant ailments. The insistence of midwife training allows for a third party to be involved to mediate between mother and medical staff. Properly trained midwives will know when an issue is out of the reach and have a better chance of enticing families to seek medical help.

Overall, infant mortality rates are thankfully falling and with new advancements in medical science each day, we will continue to see declining numbers. However, without proper investment in education and medical facilities to underdeveloped nations, their numbers will continue to rise. More and more countries are enacting family planning education and implementing clinics to impoverished areas. Investment in these areas will enhance growth of communities and allow more mothers to have and maintain healthy children throughout their lives.

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