Facing the Facts This Nebraska City Confronts Disturbing Infant Mortality Data

Facing the Facts: This Nebraska City Confronts Disturbing Infant Mortality Data

Infant mortality refers to the death of a child before reaching the age of one and serves as a crucial indicator of the overall health and well-being of a population.

Omaha, Nebraska, stands as the largest city in the state, boasting attractions like the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium, the Joslyn Art Museum, and the Old Market. However, beneath these highlights lies a troubling statistic: among Nebraska’s major cities, Omaha holds the highest infant mortality rate.

This article delves into the causes and repercussions of Omaha’s elevated infant mortality rate, alongside potential solutions and interventions aimed at its reduction.

The exploration extends to the examination of racial and ethnic disparities in infant deaths, shedding light on how these discrepancies reflect broader social and economic inequalities within the city.

About Omaha’s High Infant Mortality Rate

The March of Dimes Report Card for Nebraska in 2023 highlighted a preterm birth rate of 12.9% in Omaha for the year 2022. This figure surpasses the state average of 11.3% and the national average of 10.4%.

Preterm birth, defined as delivery before 37 weeks of gestation, stands as the leading cause of infant mortality in the United States. It can lead to severe health complications for newborns, including respiratory issues, brain bleeding, infections, and developmental delays.

The report card underscored a notable racial disparity in Nebraska’s maternal and infant health outcomes. The preterm birth rate among infants born to Black birthing individuals was 1.5 times higher than the rate for all other infants.

This discrepancy may be influenced by factors such as socioeconomic status, access to quality prenatal care, chronic stress, and exposure to racism and discrimination.

Facing the Facts: This Nebraska City Confronts Disturbing Infant Mortality Data

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Nebraska’s infant mortality rate in 2021 was 5.49 per 1,000 live births, lower than the national rate of 5.7 but higher than that of many developed nations.

The CDC defines infant mortality as the death of an infant before reaching their first birthday. In Nebraska, the primary causes of infant death include congenital malformations, disorders related to preterm birth, and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

The Nebraska Child Death Review Report for 2023 revealed that infants comprised 62% of all child deaths in the state, with 67% of those infant deaths occurring within the first month of life.

Risk Factors and Solutions to Reduce Infant Mortality

The report also highlights numerous factors posing risks and suggests preventive measures against infant deaths. These include advocating for safe sleep practices, boosting breastfeeding rates, minimizing smoking during pregnancy, and extending Medicaid coverage for postpartum care.

The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) furnishes vital statistics reports covering diverse indicators of maternal and child health, such as fertility rate, teen birth rate, low birthweight rate, and life expectancy.

Facing the Facts: This Nebraska City Confronts Disturbing Infant Mortality Data

DHHS additionally administers programs and services designed to assist pregnant and parenting families. These include the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program, the Women, Infants, and Children Program, and the Newborn Screening Program.

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To Conclude

A dark picture of racial inequities and underlying social and economic inequality is painted by Omaha’s high infant death rate. Even though the city has programs and resources, more teamwork is required to address the underlying issues and bring about long-lasting change.

In addition to addressing individual risk factors, eliminating systemic injustices that fuel them is necessary to lower Omaha’s infant death rate.

Omaha has the ability to create a future where every child has the chance to succeed by emphasizing community voices, investing in evidence-based solutions, and placing a high priority on collective action.

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With more than two years of expertise in news and analysis, Eileen Stewart is a seasoned reporter. Eileen is a respected voice in this field, well-known for her sharp reporting and insightful analysis. Her writing covers a wide range of subjects, from politics to culture and more.