US surpasses other industrialized countries in infant death rate


By Naomi Spencer
9 May 2013

A new report on motherhood paints a devastating portrait of social conditions for poor women and their babies around the world. In both developing and industrialized countries, the first month of birth is the most dangerous of an infant’s life.

“State of the World’s Mothers,” a report from the humanitarian organization Save the Children, released May 7, finds more than three million babies die within the first month of their birth. A staggering one million infants die on the day they are born.

The US has by far the highest first-day death rate in the industrialized world. The report states, “An estimated 11,300 newborn babies die each year in the United States on the day they are born. This is 50 percent more first-day deaths than all other industrialized countries combined.” The 33 other industrialized countries for which data was collected recorded a combined total of 7,500 first-day deaths each year.

The report, done in conjunction with the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, is the first global analysis of newborn day-of-death data. Its findings are an indictment of social inequality created by the capitalist system worldwide. Because the report analyzes 2011 statistics, it is likely that the ensuing year and a half have seen a worsening of these indices.

Within wealthy countries, a widening section of the working class are subject to poor living standards and extreme disparities in health care. Millions of Americans as a result fare little better–and in some aspects worse–than their counterparts in some of the poorest countries in the world.

Some US counties, clustered in the deep south, Indian reservations, and in Appalachia, as well as distressed urban centers such as Detroit and Cleveland, have mortality rates equivalent to those in “developing” countries, where 98 percent of all first-day deaths occur.

India recorded the largest number of first-day deaths: more than 300,000 per year. Nearly 90,000 Nigerian babies die the day they are born. Somalia registered the highest first-day death rate at 18 per 1,000 live births.

Save the Children estimated that an investment in four simple medical products costing between 13 cents and $6 each could save one million newborns every year. These products, including resuscitation devices and antiseptics, have been on the market for decades and would cost next to nothing to provide worldwide. That such investments have not been made is an exposure of the indifference of governments and global

This article originally appeared on : World Socialist Web Site