Cuba’s Infant Mortality Rate continues to rank among the best in the world.
For the eighth consecutive year Cuba’s infant mortality rate (IMR) remained below 5 per 1000 live births, placing the Caribbean island among the top 20 nations in the world and the leading country in the Americas, in terms of the number child deaths under the age of one.
According to data from Cuba’s Department of Medical Records and Health Statistics, in 2015 the IMR stood at 4.3 per 1000 live births with 535 child deaths out of the 125,064 births recorded in the year.
Provinces such as Pinar del Río (3.4), Havana (3.8) and Granma (3.8) registered rates below the national average while 28 municipalities across the country reported zero deaths in infants below one years old.
Although the results will be of no surprise to Cubans, the particularly low rates are unusual for a country classified as a developing nation.
Dr. Roberto Alvarez Fumero, Head of Maternal and Child Department of the Ministry of Public Health, told local paper Granma that the achievement should be attributed to Cuba’s health system, which emphasizes the diagnosis, handling and prevention of congenital defects and genetic illnesses.
“The low rates were achieved with decisive participation in perinatal care wards, neonatal units and pediatric intensive care networks, pediatric cardiology surgery and neonatal care, complemented by cross-sectoral and community participation in supporting health activities,” said Dr. Alvarez Fumero.
Fumero also heaped praise on “the effort, vigilance, dedication, talent and responsibility of Cuban health professionals from the medical clinic to hospital services” for the impressive results.
Cuba allows expectant mothers to reside in maternity homes where potential health risks to mothers and babies can be identified early on in pregnancy.
The homes also provide nutritional support and education.
Unlike in some developed countries including the United States, the IMR in Cuba remains at similar rate throughout the country regardless of the income and ethnic makeup of an area.
In the low income and predominately black state of Mississippi the IMR stood at 9.6 per 1000 live births in 2011 and was the nation’s highest. This is a stark contrast to the rate in Alaska which stood at 3.8 per 1000 live births in the same year.