Friday, October 5, 2012

Data up to 2009 shows T&T infant mortality rate highest in region: Report

The Express newspaper reported on Friday that statistics from the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) have confirmed that up to 2009 the infant death rate per 1,000 live births in Trinidad & Tobago was approximately 13.

The report is based on an interview the paper conducted with UNICEF's representative for the Eastern Caribbean, Khin-Sandi Lwin, at the Carlton Savannah hotel in Cascade on Thursday. 
File: Khin-Sandi Lwin, UNICEF representative for the Eastern Caribbean
The paper said according to the UN official data provided by the Central Statistical Office (CSO) on infant mortality rates are not up to date. She said 
a document prepared by UNICEF and the University of the West Indies (UWI) confirmed the high infant mortality rate.

The discussion paper, titled: "Child Mortality in Trinidad and Tobago" prepared by UNICEF this year, noted that there was progress in reducing under-five mortality and infant mortality from 1960 to 1990. However from 1990 to 2009 there was no further progress.

The paper quoted Khin as saying that in 1960 Trinidad & Tobago had the lowest mortality rate in babies under five among all the countries in the region but that situation has been reversed 
since the 1980s.

Khin told the paper the People's Partnership Government has recognised the problem and has set a goal to reduce the under-five mortality rate to five per 1,000 by 2015. She said UNICEF has proposed that in order to deal with the problem the government must first determine why more infants are dying today than in 1960.

Khin said UNICEF has proposed to partner with the Health Ministry to conduct a study as to why babies are dying in this country and whether the health system or public practices are root causes. "These are the things we have to find out and then determine the intervention that are best suited," she told the paper.

She added, "The Cabinet has formed a working group to look at the maternal mortality rate which is also not improving and it is not improving at the pace it should. So, we are suggesting that the same committee look at the infant mortality rate."

UNICEF's discussion paper said data from the Ministry of Health 
for the period 1998-2005 identified the leading causes of death among newborns as pre-term birth, severe infections, birth asphyxia and congenital anomalies .

Health Minister Dr Fuad Khan questioned the methodology for the report and told the Express the reality is that T&T's infant death rate has decreased over the past five years.  

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Jai & Sero

Jai & Sero

Our family at home in Toronto 2008

Our family at home in Toronto 2008
Amit, Heather, Fuzz, Aj, Jiv, Shiva, Rampa, Sero, Jai