Black Infant Mortality Rate in Dane County, Wis., Drops 70% Between 2002, 2006
The black infant mortality rate in Dane County, Wis., declined by 70% over a five-year period, the AP/Chicago Tribune reports. Wisconsin has the highest black infant mortality rate in the nation, according to the AP/Tribune. The county's rate dropped to six deaths per 1,000 live births between 2002 and 2006 from 19 deaths per 1,000 births prior to 2002. Thomas Schlenker, director of the Madison-Dane County Health Department, said there was no decline in black births during that time period.
Schlenker added that the findings indicate that 29 deaths were prevented between 2002 and 2006 and $5 million in treatment of premature babies was saved. He said the county did not develop any new projects or plans to address the issue but noted that several long-standing programs remained in effect during the period. Health officials attributed the decline in infant mortality to fewer black babies being born prematurely, increased community support and more women receiving prenatal care. At a meeting last week to discuss the findings, some attendees credited local churches and community groups for referring more women to prenatal care services.
The state's overall black infant mortality rate is more than 17 deaths per 1,000 births, according to CDC. By comparison, the national infant mortality rate is about seven deaths per 1,000 births for whites and 13 deaths per 1,000 births for blacks (AP/Chicago Tribune, 6/8).