What about Infant Mortality Anyway?

In this country, I find I don’t think about infant mortality or under 5 mortality.  It’s not that infants or children never die in the US… but when it happens, we think of it as an isolated tragedy.  Something that might and ought to have been prevented.  With a national infant mortality (IMR: that is, death of a child under 12 months) rate of 5.98/1000, we are in the lowest quartile.

Burma’s IMR is 47.74/1000.  48 out of every thousand infants don’t survive the first year. (Source: CIA: The World Factbook.)

The World Health Organization estimates that 33/1000 infants in Myanmar don’t survive the first 28 days, and 40% of that mortality is in the first 24 hours of life.  Babies just have a hard time transitioning to life in the “real world.”

Mae La Refugee Camp (home to 45,000 IDPs) has a maternity hospital, staffed entirely by Karen (one of the ethnic groups that have fled).  They have been able to reduce their IMR significantly.  I hope that introducing HBB among more of the Karen medics and their FBR partners, will be another step toward helping babies survive.

One thought on “What about Infant Mortality Anyway?

  1. I don’t know the stats but I do know that when a Maternity was built in the village I grew up in and women were slowly coaxed to come there to have their babies, instead of on the dirt floors of their various huts, the number of babies surviving the first year of life greatly increased. So much so that within a short few years the culture changed. That with the more gentle weaning of babies brought so many children safely out of infancy. Now for a cure for malaria! Will be praying for you on your trip.


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