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.