LA COUNTY: Infant Mortality Drops To All-Time Low
"Los Angeles County's infant mortality rate has dropped to an all-time low, outpacing the national decline by falling faster and further," according to the most recent statistics. The AP/Sacramento Bee reports that infant mortality dropped from 6.7 to 5.9 per thousand live births between 1995 and 1996, a 12% drop. Infant mortality nationwide dropped five percent in the same period, from 7.6 to 7.2 per thousand live births.According to Dr. Irwin Silberman, county director of Family Health Programs, part of the reason the county's rate is better than the national average is "because of its high percentage of Hispanic and Asian women" who "do better than non-Hispanic Caucasians when it comes to infant mortality." He said, "These are women who are survivors. They are strong and well-nourished, and they live in families with strong support systems." Silberman cited other factors contributing to the infant mortality decline, including "better access to health care, improved public health efforts, advances in medical sciences and technology, and lower rates of substance abuse, crime and violence." He said, "You have to look at it as a package of good things that have been happening to women." Dr. Sarkis Kaakijian, a pediatrician at Glendale Memorial Hospital, said that "parents are more conscientious about seeking medical care for their infants at the first sign of illness." He also cited "[l]ower unemployment rates, decreased drug use and increased availability of health care" (1/26).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.