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Indiana’s Infant Mortality Rate Drops Lowest In Six Years

By Darian Benson, IPB News | Published on in Government, Health, Statewide News

Indiana’s infant mortality rate has dropped at the highest rate in six years.

Newly released Indiana Department of Health (ISDH) data from 2018 show the infant mortality rate decreased from 7.3 to 6.8 for every 1,000 births.

State Health Commissioner Kris Box says the decline is a result of many organizations working together.

“I don’t want to say culmination because we still have a lot of work to do,” Box says. “But I think this is a realization of all the handwork that has been put in by state agencies, and the hospital association and providers and communities all across our state.”

She points to programs that provide increased outreach, funding and education to mothers.  Those include resources geared toward mothers with substance use disorder and mothers in minority groups.

With 2017 data, Indiana ranked among the states with the highest infant mortality rates in the country.

The ISDH data show significant drops in infant mortality rates in minorities. The black infant mortality rate declined nearly 16 percent in 2018, and the rate for Hispanics fell almost 20 percent.

“Indiana has been investing heavily in improving health outcomes for moms and babies as we work toward Governor Holcomb’s goal of having the lowest infant mortality rate in the Midwest by 2024,” Box said in a news release. “It’s heartening to see those efforts pay off so that more Hoosier babies can celebrate their first birthdays.”

Box says the new OB Navigator program, which provides mothers with assistance from pregnancy through the first year after birth, will help Indiana’s infant mortality rate continue to decline.

Contact Darian at dbenson@wfyi.org or follow her on Twitter at @helloimdarian.