Source: Ohio Department of Health and the Governor’s Office of Health Transformation
Ohio’s infant mortality rate is showing signs of improvement, according to 2014 data issued by the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) which indicates a decline in the overall infant mortality rate from 7.4 infant deaths per 1, 000 live births in 2013 to 6.8 in 2014.
Last year, fewer babies died in Ohio than at any point in at least 75 years. While data continues to trend in a positive direction overall, Ohio’s infant mortality rate – especially the black infant mortality rate – remains too high. The rate of black babies dying before their first birthday is double the state rate and increased from 13.8 deaths per 1,000 births in 2013 to 14.3 in 2014.
“While we are encouraged by the overall trend, there is much work to do – especially when it comes to African-American infants who die at more than twice the rate of white infants. We are optimistic that our recent initiatives will help us accelerate our progress,” said ODH Director Rick Hodges. “Given the importance of this issue, we sped up the process of collecting and analyzing data to provide the annual infant mortality report several months earlier than in past years in order to help our many partners who are on the frontlines in the fight to save babies’ lives.”
Infant mortality is defined nationwide as the death of a live-born baby before his or her first birthday. Infant mortality rate is calculated as the number of such deaths per 1,000 live births. Ohio’s goal is to reach the Healthy People 2020 objective of a 6.0 infant mortality rate or lower in every race and ethnicity group.
Healthy People 2020 is a national collaborative managed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that provides science-based, national objectives for improving the health of Americans. The number of infant deaths in Ohio declined nearly 6.7% from 1,024 in 2013 to 955 in 2014, marking the first time since deaths were registered in Ohio beginning in 1939 that the state had fewer than 1,000 infant deaths in a year.
The three leading causes of infant deaths in Ohio are prematurity/pre-term births, sleep-related deaths, and birth defects.
“Ohio is taking a statewide, coordinated approach to address the many factors contributing to infant mortality. As that work continues to make inroads, more Ohio babies will celebrate their first birthdays,” Hodges said.