Approximately 11,300 babies die every year in America before the age of 1, making the United States a country with one of the highest infant mortality rates, according to Save The Children. As a country, we need to make a change in order to lower this number.
Infant mortality is defined as the death of babies under the age of 1, and it’s usually higher in underdeveloped countries, but America’s infant mortality rate is significantly higher than any other developed country. In a 2014 study, America’s infant mortality rate was a shocking 5.8 deaths for every 1,000 births, compared to Japan’s low 2.1 deaths for every 1,000 births, according to the OECD Health Statistics Database.
On a more local level, two to three babies die before the age of 1 in Franklin County every week, and the infant mortality rate for black babies is 2.5 times that of white babies in Franklin County. This leaves Ohio with one of the highest rates among the whole country, with 13.46 deaths for every 1,000 live births to black mothers from 2013 to 2015, and 5.76 for babies born to white mothers, according to the Columbus Dispatch.
There are countless factors to be considered when studying infant mortality, such as prenatal care and timing of pregnancies, but social determinants remain the most crucial factor.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, infant mortality rates are higher in areas of poverty. In areas where housing, healthcare and education are limited, raising a child is a challenging task.
With these problems at hand, what can be done to lower our infant mortality rate?
We should look to countries like Cuba for inspiration. While Cuba isn’t considered the most developed country, it donates every 10 percent of income to public expenditures on health, compared to an average 8 percent of other developed countries, according to Huffington Post. Cuba has an infant mortality rate of 4.1 deaths for every 1,000 births, the lowest of any other Caribbean country, according to the Cuban News Agency.
Perhaps universal healthcare could put an end to this American pandemic, so what’s stopping the U.S. from putting a similar plan in action?