Reducing health disparities in black-white infant mortality is a difficult, but achievable goal. Macomb County, MI has made doing just that a priority in addressing social disparities in health care delivery in the county, as reported by macombdaily.com:
Macomb County possesses a wealth of assets but its black infant mortality rate has been relative to that of a poor community in Romania.
“The persistent racial disparity in which women of color experience two times the risk of an infant death compared to white mothers is unacceptable,” said Macomb County Health Department Director Bill Ridella.
Part of Ridella’s responsibility as community health director is to track data related to infant mortality rates (IMR), as it is a key indicator of population health.
Historically, Michigan has seen a drop in overall rates.
“In 1970, the infant death rate was 20.3 deaths per 1,000 live births; and this rate declined to 10.7 in 1990 and then again to 7.1 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2010,” according to a recent study by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS). “Since 1970, these declines were primarily due to advances in neonatal medicine, artificial lung surfactants, folic acid supplementation, and numerous public health interventions.”
Ridella said health care improvements have done a lot and if the decline remains constant, the overall infant mortality rate could drop to 6.3 by 2020 and as low as 5.0 by 2030.
In contrast to this has been the persistent and widening gap of infant mortality rates between women of color and whites.