What is Being Done to Reduce Infant Mortality?
To reduce infant mortality in the United States, public health organizations must collaborate with health care providers, communities and partners. This can be accomplished by focusing on perinatal care, better understanding SIDS and SUID and fostering support for these programs.
Perinatal quality collaboratives (PQCs) are state or multistate networks of teams that work to improve the quality of care for mothers and babies. PQC members identify and implement changes in health care processes to meet best practices. These networks have helped reduce deliveries before 39 weeks of pregnancy (with no medical reason), health care related bloodstream infections in newborns and severe pregnancy complications.
Moreover, the CDC and the March of Dimes established the National Network of Perinatal Quality Collaboratives (NNPQC). It assists state based PQCs in making measurable improvements in statewide health care and health outcomes for mothers and babies. Currently, The National Institute for Children’s Health Quality is serving as the coordinating center for the NNPQC.
Understanding SIDS and SUID
Sudden Unexpected Infant Death (SUID) is defined as the sudden and unexpected death of a baby who is less than one year old with no obvious cause of death prior to an investigation. The majority of SUIDs are one of three types:
- Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)
- Unknown causes
- Accidental suffocation and strangulation in bed
The Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS) collects data before, during and briefly after pregnancy to research and implement change regarding high-risk groups of women and infants. This data is used to measure goal progression towards improving women and infant health. Alabama is currently one of the 47 states that participate in PRAMS.
To support epidemiologic research to improve women and infant health programs, the Maternal and Child Health Epidemiology Program (MCHEP) assigns epidemiologists to states, localities and tribes. Its main objectives are to increase states epidemiologic infrastructures and to partner with organizations that provide services, influence policy and/or practice guidelines.
MCHEP offers peer exchange and research collaboration through conferences and Webcasts. This provides further support by educating the industry professionals.