"What Factors Contribute to Infant Mortality in Developed and Less Developed Countries?”

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“What factors contribute to infant mortality in developed and less developed countries?” “Infant mortality is the number of deaths among live-born infants from birth to under age one” (Sidscenter.org, n.d.). According to a National Vital Statistics Report in 2006, the leading causes of Infant Mortality in the U.S. were deformities, low birth weight, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, maternal complications, unintentional injuries, respiratory distress of the newborn, bacterial sepsis, neonatal haemorrhage and diseases of the circulatory system (Heron, M.P., Murphy, S.L., Xu, J.Q., Kochanek, K.D., & Tejada-Vera, B., 2006). Studies show that in less developed countries around the world some factors contributing to infant mortality are economic development, level of educational attainment, level of female educational attainment and level of expenditure on public health (Nobles, J., Shandra, J.M., & London, B., 2003).

In underdeveloped countries around the world, many actions need to be taken to decrease the infant mortality rate. Because of low female education about pregnancy, unlike in developed nations, women are not aware of the importance of breastfeeding in the first six months of a newborn’s life, vital antibodies are given to the child through breastfeeding. Babies in underdeveloped countries who are supplemented with tap water are at risk of infection because of contamination due to the lack of sanitation systems, this means children can die from infection, or, more commonly, dehydration from diarrhoea. In countries with malaria carrying mosquitos and other disease carrying insects, the use of insecticide sprayed sleeping nets is available, but due to low income, the cost of these nets, around five dollars, is a large percentage of many people’s gross incomes (Balbierz, A.N. n.d.). “The goal of these nets is the protection of sleeping infants from contractile diseases” (Balbierz, A.N. n.d.). Vaccination is another important way to prevent disease and therefore, infant mortality. “UNICEF developed a network of vaccine refrigerators and trained health care workers that were strategically placed in disease stricken areas of developing countries.” (Peck, P., 2003). Nutrition for all people as well as mothers and infants needs to be addressed in these underdeveloped nations, prenatal and postnatal care, vaccination and health promotion would all help in reducing the infant mortality rate in many countries around the world, as well as increasing the health and quality for life for all the people in these countries (Peck, P., 2003). The Academy for Educational Development, AED, is an organization that is working hard to make infant mortality rates decrease, “each day 80 newborns die in Mali, every three hours a woman in Mali dies due to complications from pregnancy or childbirth” (Academy for Educational Development [AED], 2004). The AED has created a team of 20 people; including a mid-wife, paediatrician, statistician, economist, sociologist, and educator; these people have “reviewed both local and international surveys, studies, and reports to estimate the cost of inadequate maternal and newborn health services in terms of the number of lives lost and the economic impact on their country” (AED, 2004). Two ways this team of professionals plans to address infant mortality in Mali is by the ‘Reduce’ and ‘Alive’ approaches. The ‘Reduce’ strategy will look at mothers not seeking help in time, not being able to reach health care services due to lack of transportation, and the delay of help when they do reach hospitals or clinics. The ‘Alive’ strategy will look at the cleanliness of the delivery and the cutting of the umbilical cord, the wrapping of the baby in blankets and the cleaning of the baby after delivery, and breastfeeding lessons soon after birth. Breastfeeding is one of the most important factors in this strategy, especially because of the Colostrum which is produced in the...
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