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Health and Medicine


Ohio's infant mortality rate is 48th in the country
And racial disparities are great
Story by JERRY KENNEY


 
In The Region:

Health professionals and members of the Ohio Senate Committee on Medicaid, Health, and Human Services will be in Cincinnati Thursday to discuss how to improve Ohio’s infant mortality rate. For Ohio Public Radio,  WYSO’s Jerry Kenney reports.

LISTEN: Disparity in infant mortality

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Ohio ranks 48th among states in infant mortality, averaging 7.7 deaths per 1,000 births from 2006 through 2010.

According to the National Center for Health Statistics, that rate has remained fairly steady since 1997. State Sen.Shannon Jones, who chairs the Medicaid, Health, and Human Services committee, says what’s happening in Ohio in no way resembles the progress that’s being made nationally.

“During that same period of time, the infant mortality rates across the nation have dropped by 11 percent. So the disparity between Ohio’s infant mortality rate and the rest of the nation continues to grow.”

And, the Ohio Department of Health says Infant mortality rates go up dramatically for black populations in Ohio, to 15.5 deaths per 1,000 births. Tha’s more than double the rate for white infants. Jones says some of that disparity lies with access to medical care.

“I think our focus has to be here in the state on looking at evidenced-based practices that’s going to allow us to tackle this challenge.”

In July the Ohio Department of Health announced that it will work with Dayton and eight other Ohio communities to reduce infant deaths.

 

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