[R-G] Cuba's infant mortality rate lower than U.S.
david.mcr at earthlink.net
Mon Feb 23 17:51:02 MST 2004
> [Original Message]
> From: Patsy Behrend <patsybehrend at hotmail.com>
> To: <david.mcr at earthlink.net>
> Date: 2/23/04 12:42:06 PM
> Subject: Cuba's infant mortality rate lower than U.S.
> Cuba's infant mortality rate lower than U.S.
> Author: Emile Schepers
> People's Weekly World Newspaper, 02/18/04 18:41
> News analysis
> Under the best of circumstances, it is hard for a poor,
> Third World country to equal, let alone surpass, the social
> statistics of wealthy developed countries. For years, Cuba
> has been passing all other relatively poor countries in its
> statistics on health, health care and education. It has now
> officially passed the United States of America, the richest
> country in the world, on one key measure of national
> well-being, namely, the infant mortality rate.
> What is the infant mortality rate? It is a public health
> statistic, representing the number of babies per every
> 1,000 born in a given year who die before reaching their
> first birthday.
> In mid-February, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and
> Prevention in Atlanta revealed that the U.S. infant
> mortality rate now stands at 7 as of 2002, backsliding from
> 6.8 in 2001.
> In early January, the Cuban Ministry of Health announced an
> infant mortality rate of 6.3, more than a half-point lower
> than the U.S.
> Worldwide, the lowest infant mortality rates are generally
> found in countries which are both wealthy and have
> well-developed social safety networks, such as Sweden
> (which has an infant mortality rate of 3 - that is, out of
> every 1,000 babies born, 3 die before reaching their first
> The countries with the worst infant mortality rates are
> those that are desperately poor and have a social safety
> net that is minimal or nonexistent, such as Afghanistan
> (infant mortality rate of 165) and many countries in
> sub-Saharan Africa.
> The worldwide tendency is for infant mortality rates to go
> down, due to urbanization, improvements in sanitation,
> health advances, and other factors. What is remarkable
> about the Cuban achievement is that it has gone down so far
> so fast. Cuba's rate is far better than those of the vast
> majority of countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America,
> wealthy economies such as those of Japan and Singapore
> People who know Cuba don't find the Cuban achievement
> surprising. They attribute it to the high level of
> education of the Cuban population, the supportive social
> networks that are encouraged by the Cuban socialist
> government, the investment of Cuba in public health and
> health care, and the low AIDS and drug addiction rates in
> Cuba. These things are made possible by Cuban socialism.
> Only in a few places in the world do you find a trend
> toward worsening of the infant mortality rate. After the
> collapse of the Soviet Union, for example, infant mortality
> rates in the former Soviet republics in Central Asia
> skyrocketed, but are going down again in some places. The
> AIDS crisis is causing an increase in Southern Africa. And
> now we see an increase in the rate in the United States.
> The Center for Diseases Control attributes the worsening of
> the infant mortality rate in the U.S. to the tendency of
> more women to have babies when they are already in their
> 30s and 40s, said to be a greater risk for the neonates.
> Even if this is accepted (which it should not be) as an
> excuse for such a negative development, it raises more
> questions than it answers, such as:
> . How come the same thing is not happening in other
> developed, wealthy countries, where the demographic trends
> on childbirth are similar? And how does this breakdown
> among different racial, ethnic and economic subsections of
> the U.S. population? Could it be the atrocious state of
> health care among low income and minority workers is the
> major factor that is causing the increase in infant
> mortality in the U.S.?
> . Are there economic factors behind the decision to have
> babies later in life, such as the inability of many
> families to survive economically without both parents out
> working full time, unable to support or care for children?
> Are the policies of the "pro-family values" Bush
> administration making the U.S. the wealthiest
> child-unfriendly country in history?
> But, some would argue, the infant mortality rate in the
> U.S. is still relatively low, right?
> Sure, when you consider the only countries besides Cuba
> that are doing better than we are: Australia, Austria,
> Brunei, Canada, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland,
> France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy,
> Japan, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway,
> Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden,
> Switzerland, and the UK. (UNICEF and World Health
> Organization 2002 statistics.)
> Not bad for us, the richest country in the world. We're
> number 30! We're number 30! Hurrah!
> Emile Schepers is an activist in Chicago. He can be reached
> at pww at pww.org.
> Click, drag and drop. My MSN is the simple way to design your homepage.
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