Infant Mortality Rate in North Carolina Hits Record Low
The infant mortality rate in North Carolina has hit a record low, state officials said Tuesday, attributing the improvement to investing in public health programs which help women of child-bearing age.
The figures show there were seven infant deaths for every 1,000 live births in the state last year, the lowest rate recorded since state records began, reports the Charlotte Observer.
The number fell from 2009’s 7.9 percent, and part of the decrease came from the particularly sharp decline in deaths of black infants, which fell from 15.8 to 12.7 per 1,000 births.
“Last year, 900 pregnant minority women received services through our Healthy Beginnings program without the loss of a single infant,” state Health Director Dr. Jeff Engel said.
“This progress is a direct result of long-term, sustained investments in promising programs to reduce infant deaths and eliminate disparities in birth outcomes,” Engel said, the Charlotte Observer reports.
The Healthy Beginnings program is aimed at promoting practices like breastfeeding, safe sleeping, smoking cessation and other methods to help ensure healthy births.
Furthermore, the state has four federally-funded Healthy Start projects in 15 counties that are primarily focused on blacks and American Indians.