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Infant mortality rate rises by 40% in Manchester

In the city of Manchester between 2011 and 2013, 108 children died before their first birthday. During 2015 and 2017 this number increased to 151. Manchester has the fourth highest infant mortality rate in England. 

The report outlines that since the start of the decade the death rate for infants in Manchester has risen by nearly 40%. Smoking during pregnancy, deprivation and maternal obesity were listed in the report as the risk factors. With smoking being the most significant.

According to Caroline Lee-Davey, the chief executive at the premature and sick baby charity Bliss, neonatal mortality had increased slightly across England during the last two years.

Manchester’s director of population health and wellbeing, David Regan, has vowed that the council is ‘absolutely determined’ to bring an end to the rise in infant mortality. While discussing the city council’s new strategy he explained:

“In partnership with all of the key agencies who are focused on supporting healthy pregnancies and the early lives of babies in Manchester, we’re absolutely determined to ensure that the recent rise in infant mortality is halted. Our new long-term strategy will focus on ensuring that the best specialist knowledge is being applied to providing high quality and safe services, plus improving access to health advice and information so that we can minimise risks for mothers and babies at all stages.”

In response to the council’s plan of action, Ms Lee-Davey applauded their efforts particularly the “strong focus on public health and supporting healthy pregnancies”. The plan includes efforts to develop a smoke-free pregnancy programme. While also urgently addressing maternal obesity.

Author: Julia Zvobgo

Julia Zvobgo is a Cultural Anthropologist and the Community Manager of Child in the City.

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