…Dane County’s black infant mortality rate continues to be nearly three times the rate for whites despite infant death investigations, a safe sleep campaign and home visits to pregnant women and new mothers.
Health officials say the disparity is troubling because the county seemed to have eliminated the black-white gap a decade ago, which gained national attention as an apparent success story.
“It is frustrating on a number of levels,” said Daniel Stattelman-Scanlan, perinatal supervisor for Public Health Madison and Dane County. “Infant mortality is a key indicator of the health of a community, of how people are doing overall.”
Carola Gaines, a health educator at Unity Health Insurance and board member of the county’s African American Health Network, said the black-white infant mortality gap reflects longstanding problems such as racism, stress and economic disparities involving housing and jobs.
“We need to chip away at all of those things,” Gaines said. “It’s challenging, but we can’t stop the fight.”
In 2016, of 568 black babies born in the county, 10 died before their first birthday, a rate of 17.6 deaths per 1,000 births.
Of 4,265 white babies, 23 died before age 1, or 5.4 deaths per 1,000 births.
Rates can fluctuate from year to year, so officials prefer three-year intervals. For 2014-2016, the infant mortality rate in the county was 9.3 for blacks and 3.7 for whites per 1,000 births.
During the same three years, the rate for Asians was 3.2. For Hispanics it was 5.6, higher than in previous years.
Dane County’s black-white infant mortality gap seemed to disappear from 2003 to 2007. When officials announced the development in 2009, it garnered national media attention…
More on this challenge to social work at: http://host.madison.com/wsj/news/local/health-med-fit/high-death-rate-for-black-babies-in-dane-county-frustrates/article_025b732a-9c53-50ea-86af-f692b46b08b5.html