Mother's Day is a great opportunity to examine why this nation has a relatively high infant mortality rate.  The infant mortality rate compares the number of deaths of infants under one year old in a given year per 1,000 live births in the same year.  The rate is often used as an indicator of the level of health in a country.  According to information from the Central Intelligence Agency World Factbook the United States has an infant mortality rate higher than 55 other countries.

The Central Intelligence Agency chart listing infant mortality rates has 225 nations listed.  All the numbers on the chart are 2017 estimates.  The highest infant mortality rate is in Afghanistan where there were an estimated 110.6 deaths per 1,000 live births.  Next on the list is Somalia at 94.8.  The remaining top five are Central African Republic 86.3, Guinea-Bissau 85.7 and Chad 85.4.  The United States is 170th with 5.8 and is down from the 2016  rate of 6.1.

The five nations with the best rates are Monaco 1.8, Japan 2.0, Iceland 2.1, Singapore 2.4 and Norway 2.5.  The infant mortality rate for the world is 49.4 according to the United Nations and 34.1 according to the CIA World Factbook.  According to statistical information from the National Center for Health Statistics from the Centers For Disease Control (CDC) Minnesota ranks 13th in the United States with a infant mortality rate of 5.1.  Vermont is lowest on the list at around 0 and next is New Hampshire at 3.7, Massachusetts 3.9, New Jersey 4.1 and California 4.2.  The bottom five are Alabama 9.1, Mississippi 8.6, Arkansas 8.1, Louisiana 8.0 and Delaware 7.9.

What is embarrassing about this is the fact that the United States is the wealthiest nation on the planet and healthcare spending levels are significantly higher than any other country in the world. From what I have read about this topic I have come to the belief we need to target our health care dollars more toward prevention.  For whatever reason profit-driven health care doesn't appear to prioritize prevention.

To put it bluntly, sickness and disease makes money and prevention does not drive profits.  In the realm of infant mortality, prevention means better prenatal and post-natal care.

St. Mary's Hospital Rochester- photo Townsquare Media
St. Mary's Hospital Rochester- photo Townsquare Media



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