Sunday, April 22, 2007

Rising Infant Mortality, Racial Disparities, and Access to Health Care

In a disturbing report in the NY Times this morning, infant mortality rates have in the Southern United States have risen. For one of the richest countries in the world, this is an embarrassment; the United States has the second worst newborn death rate in the modern world, and some of the factors contributing to number are poverty, lack of access to health care, racial disparities, cuts in social programs and a dearth of transportation:

"For decades, Mississippi and neighboring states with large black populations and expanses of enduring poverty made steady progress in reducing infant death. But, in what health experts call an ominous portent, progress has stalled and in recent years the death rate has risen in Mississippi and several other states.

The setbacks have raised questions about the impact of cuts in welfare and Medicaid and of poor access to doctors, and, many doctors say, the growing epidemics of obesity, diabetes and hypertension among potential mothers, some of whom tip the scales here at 300 to 400 pounds." To read on, click here.

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