Published on Wednesday, 15 August 2012 10:06
The State of Michigan recently released their newest data for infant mortality rates and unfortunately they seem to be following the alarming numbers we are seeing around the nation. According to the latest data, 14 out of every 1,000 African American babies born die. For Caucasian babies it is 5 out of every 1,000 and for Hispanic babies it 7 out of every 1,000.
The Michigan data does provide a small glimpse into the problem.
“The leading cause of infant death is being born too soon. One in eight babies is born too soon. State and national data indicate that accidental infant suffocation/strangulation deaths caused by unsafe sleep environments continue to be a leading cause of infant death, especially for African-American and Native American infants. The infant mortality rate is significantly higher among younger women than among women ages 20-39. There has been no significant change in the past 10 years. Except for the youngest mothers (less than 15 years of age), the high incidence of infant mortality among women younger than 20 is attributed to lower socio-economic status, little or no prenatal care, and lack of social support.”
So once again we are facing a new set of data that demonstrates that any alarming number of African American children are not surviving the first year of their life. If this was just happening in Michigan maybe we could say it is a local issue, but it’s not. We have written about similarly alarming rates happening in Maryland and Nebraska. At some point we need to start having a national discussion on what is happening and what must be done to correct it.
Just as with the alarming rise in new HIV/AIDS infections among “black women”, we cannot sit by and believe that this is only a problem in one part of the nation and that the community I live in does not face these issues. It is time for organizations such as the Congressional Black Caucus, NAACP, Urban League, religious organizations and others to start addressing these growing disparities in healthcare issues.
As always we hope that our readers will share this story with their friends and family, but we also need to start asking our elected officials what they plan on doing to address these disparities in care. You can read the entire media release by the State of Michigan by following the link.