New Effort Aims to Slash High Infant Mortality Here
Zero. That’s the dramatic goal set by a group of community leaders striving to lower Hamilton County’s infant mortality rate. At the group’s first meeting, 23 doctors, other health professionals, medical administrators and politicians agreed they would work together to make sure every child born in Hamilton County lives to at least age one.
The county’s infant death rate in 2012 was 9.2 per every 1,000 live births, well above the national level of 6.1 deaths per 1,000 live births. The number of births in the county was 10,972. The number of deaths was 101.
In Hamilton County, the infant mortality rate for African-Americans is 16.9 per 1,000 live births and 9.8 for Hispanics. The rate for whites is 6.4. Nationally, the infant mortality rate for blacks is 2.5 times that of whites.
Dr. James Greenberg, a neonatologist and co-director of the Cincinnati Children’s Perinatal Institute, provided philosophical context to a zero-tolerance goal.
“Each one of these deaths has to be a serious event,” he said.
Yet lowering the rate is difficult, time-consuming and expensive, Greenberg said, citing a New York program that has succeeded in saving lives in the first year of life: The North Manhattan Perinatal Partnership, working in a four-block stretch of Harlem, reduced the black infant mortality rate from 27.7 deaths per 1,000 lives births in 1990 to 6.1 in 2008.
Representatives from Cincinnati Children’s, University of Cincinnati Medical Center, Mercy Health, the Christ Hospital, TriHealth and the UC College of Nursing sit on the advisory board.
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