An increase in the infant mortality rate among black newborns has contributed to an overall slight increase in the state’s infant mortality rate for 2020, public health officials said Wednesday.
While the infant mortality rate among white and Hispanic newborns improved, the increase in the black infant mortality rate was enough to raise the state’s overall rate to 6.6 infants per 1,000 live births. .
Yet that rate represents the second lowest in state history, state health commissioner Dr Kris Box said at Labor of Love’s 9th annual infant mortality summit. Indiana reached a lowest historical in 2019 6.5 infant deaths per 1,000 live births.
The Hispanic infant mortality rate in Indiana hit a 10-year low in 2020, while the non-Hispanic white infant mortality rate was the lowest since 2012. The black infant mortality rate, which had fallen by almost 30% to 11.0 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2019 rose to 13.2 deaths in 2020.
In recent years, Indiana has taken several steps to improve its infant mortality rate, one of the highest in the country. In 2019, Indiana had the 14th highest infant mortality rate, with 525 deaths, according to the Centers for Disaster Control and Prevention.
Interventions include establishing a certification program for levels of care for birth, providing just under $ 32 million in grants to programs across the state that aim to reduce infant mortality and the launch of an obstetrics navigator program. This program began last year in 22 counties and has expanded to three more this year. Plans call for expanding the My Healthy Baby program to an additional 35 counties next year.
Box said in a statement that improving Indiana’s infant mortality profile would focus on eliminating disparities between black and white infants. Early prenatal care and encouraging parents to put their children to sleep alone in their crib would also help reduce the number of children with this condition who die before their first birthday, she said.