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RALEIGH – The Public Health Division of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services announced Tuesday that North Carolina’s Infant Mortality Rate for 2013 was 7.0 per 1,000 live births. The Infant Mortality Rate ties 2010 as the lowest in North Carolina’s history, according to a press release from the agency.

Hispanic and African American non-Hispanic populations showed the largest decreases of 11.9 percent and 10.1 percent, respectively.

The African American non-Hispanic infant mortality rate of 12.5 per 1,000 births is the lowest in the state’s history. However, a racial disparity still remains, with the African American non-Hispanic populations having an infant mortality rate 2.3 times higher than the white non-Hispanic population.

Deaths from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome continued to decline, down 18 percent since 2012 and 54 percent since 2011.

The health of women before, during and after pregnancy directly influences the health of their infants. The Division of Public Health and its partners have a number of efforts to improve the health of women, including:

  • Training health care providers, students, teachers and lay health workers across the state to disseminate information about the link between women’s health and infant health in their local communities.
  • Seeking to improve access to preconception care and promote policies that support the health of women of childbearing age through the N.C. Preconception Health Coalition. (The strategic plan is located at: http://whb.ncpublichealth.com/.)
  • Administering three federal Healthy Start grants to address health disparities in African American and American Indian populations in the perinatal period (birth to 28 days).
  • Utilizing social marketing and social media, in collaboration with the N.C. Healthy Start Foundation, to link women to health resources in the childbearing years, such as Text4Baby, a free, national, mobile texting service by the National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition.
  • Supporting a Pregnancy Medical Home initiative that engages obstetrical providers as Pregnancy Medical Homes and local health departments as providers of Pregnancy Care Management services in collaboration with the Division of Medical Assistance and Community Care of North Carolina.

County-by-county rates in Western North Carolina

Click to view full-size image. Angie Newsome/Carolina Public Press

Angie Newsome

Angie Newsome is the executive director and editor of Carolina Public Press. Contact her at (828) 774-5290 or e-mail her at anewsome@carolinapublicpress.org.

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