Preventing Child Mortality in Memphis, TN

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Preventing Child Mortality in Memphis, TN
Child mortality is defined as the death of infants and children under age five. Children struggle to survive water pollution, lack of basic sanitation, and poor nutrition. However, children from poor or disadvantaged backgrounds are likely to be injured or killed. Low levels of maternal education and the lack of healthcare increase the risks that a child will not survive to age five. Parents and children need care that is accessible, reliable, and of quality to improve survival rates. Education improvements concerning the health of pregnant women and new mothers will play an important role in generating reduction in child mortality. Many mothers in Memphis are lacking prenatal care, and along with that the basic dos and don’ts about carrying a child term. According to Edmondson, child mortality in Memphis, TN has increased drastically. Memphis has the highest infant mortality rate among the nation’s 60 largest cities. Babies here die at twice the rate of the national average. An infant dies in Shelby County every 43 hours. In 2002, the last year statistics are available, 202 babies didn’t see their first birthday- enough to fill 10 kindergarten classrooms. By comparison, there were 122 homicide victims in the city and county last year. Several Memphis Zip codes have infant death rates higher than scores of Third World countries. North Memphis’ 38108, which includes the tattered communities of Douglass and Hollywood, is deadlier for babies than Vietnam, El Salvador and Iran (1).

Child survival interventions are not reaching children and parents who need help the most. In the article, “Infant mortality in Memphis,” Sheldon Korones points out, “Many cities face the same demons of poverty and low education levels but have more aggressively whittled their rates” (2). Tennessee funding and programs for child survival and maternal health has helped save millions of lives over the past decades. According to Edmondson, “In...
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