OECD: Canada's infant mortality rate worsens | National Union of Public and General Employees

OECD: Canada's infant mortality rate worsens

“'We’re losing our reputation.... We have fallen way behind.' - André Lalonde.

Ottawa (26 May 2010) - Canada's traditionally low infant mortality worsened dramatically, dropping from sixth place in the world to 24th place – just above Hungary and Poland.

The Canadian rate of 5.1 deaths (among infants less than one year of age) for every 1,000 live births drops Canada below such countries as Sweden, Japan, Finland, France, Ireland and Greece.

The figures have been reported by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

“We’re losing our reputation,” Dr. André Lalonde, executive vice-president of The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada (SOGC) told the Toronto Globe and Mail. “We have fallen way behind.”

The main causes cited by researchers are poverty, isolation, premature births and to some degree, the way the data are collected.

Canada’s aboriginal community has traditionally experienced high infant death rates due to poverty and remote locales, but those numbers alone do not explain the country’s low ranking, adds Dr. Michael Kramer, Scientific Director of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and the Institute of Human Development, Child and Youth Health (IHDCYH).

“The concern is that we’re not really making any impact on reducing the incidence of these spontaneously born very pre-term infants,” Dr. Kramer said. “We don’t really know enough about what causes them, that’s the challenge – that’s where we need to make improvements.”

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