Health
1:24 pm
Wed August 1, 2012

Improving Michigan's infant mortality rate

The Snyder Administration has outlined its plan to reduce infant mortality in Michigan, but some say the plan needs more state funding to work.

At seven in every 1,000 live births, Michigan’s infant mortality rate is slightly higher than the national average.  The number drops to five in 1,000 births among Caucasians in Michigan. Among African-Americans, the number soars to 14 in every 1,000 live births.

The Snyder administration is proposing an eight-point plan to reduce infant mortality including improving prenatal care, promoting safer infant sleeping practices and expanding abstinence education in schools.

“The state of Michigan will prioritize activities and resources towards the highest risk communities. ..which will allow us to create a movement toward eliminating disparities that exist,” said Olga Dazzo, the director of the Michigan Department of Community Health.

State officials say they will rely partly on grant funding from the federal government and private foundations to pay for the program.

But a medical group deeply involved in infant health says the state should do more.

Amy Zaagman is the executive director of the Michigan Council for Maternal and Child Health. The council represents hospitals, clinics and doctors involved in infant health.

“The governor has made infant mortality a leading health issue in the state. And yet, very few direct, dedicated resources have been given to this project,” she said.

Zaagman says the state has sharply cut funding to health education in schools, and family planning clinics that promote contraception.