More Alabama infants dying before age 1; health officials working to change that

Posted at 9:10 AM, Sep 10, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-10 11:10:27-04

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    Alabama (WALA) — Having a child is supposed to be a happy time, but a growing trend in Alabama is threatening that as more infants are dying before the age of 1.

Alabama health officials are trying to raise awareness about the worsening infant death rate. They will be getting together next week for a summit in hopes of talking through ways to reduce the problem.

Alabama is ground zero for the troubling trend.

“One is too many if it is your baby,” said Dr. Nicole Arthur from Infirmary Health.

Infant death are on the rise here. CDC numbers show nearly 1% of all babies born in the state are dying before their first birthday.

“Whenever you think about the delivery or birth of a baby, it’s supposed to be a happy time, so it’s terrible to have someone call you can and say hey this baby hasn’t made it to their first birthday,” Dr. Arthur said.

She has seen this first hand.

“Infant mortality really speaks to the health of an entire community, so it’s how healthy the moms are before they have their baby, it’s the kind of care they’re being provided when they’re pregnant,” Dr. Arthur said. “If babies are dying it really says something about the state overall.”

Alabama is bringing together experts and families who have experienced this to discuss the problem.

“I think the summit is important and I think that because there are factors we can actually work on and change that this problem could potentially be solved,” Dr. Arthur said.

In 2016, 537 infants died before the age of 1, which is up 43 from the year before.

“This isn’t a 100 year old problem, this is actually a current problem and I think we just need to work on those things that are preventable, so not sleeping with our infants, trying to be healthy prior to pregnancy,” Dr. Arthur said.

The infant mortality reduction summit is scheduled for Friday, September 15th at Auburn University in Montgomery.

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