Mississippi targeting high infant mortality

For decades, Mississippi has borne the shame of having the nation’s highest infant-mortality rate – a rate higher than some poor countries such as Costa Rica.

Now health and medical officials are fighting back with the nation’s first large pilot program aimed at reducing infant mortality among mothers who already have given birth to babies with low birthweights.

State Health Officer Dr. Ed Thompson said infant mortality exacts a huge cost on Mississippi, taking the lives of more than 800 babies each year.

On top of this, there is the real fiscal cost, he said. Each low-birthweight baby can have medical bills of hundreds of thousands of dollars. Those who manage to survive often suffer lifelong disabilities and other health woes.

INFANT MORTALITY RATES (PER 10,000)
Sweden
3.2

Czech Republic
3.8

Slovenia
4.8

Cuba
5.1

United States
6.3

Malaysia
8.9

Costa Rica
9.9

Mississippi
10.1

Clarion-Ledger
6/22/9