What is Infant Mortality (IM)?
Infants who die before their first birthday are considered infant deaths. Those that die during days 0-27 are neonatal deaths, while those who die during days 28-364 are post-neonatal deaths. The mortality rates were calculated as the number of deaths per 1,000 live births. The infant, neonatal, and post-neonatal mortality rates have remained approximately the same over the last five years.
The U.S. infant mortality rate has substantially declined over the last century, but persistent racial/ethnic disparities remain. Infant mortality continues to be a complex health issue with many medi-cal, social, and economic determinants. Neonatal mortality is associated with gestational age, low birth weight, congenital malformations, and health problems originating in the perinatal period. Post-neonatal mortality is generally related to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), unintentional injury, and congenital malformations.
Collaborative Improvement and Innovation Network (CoIIN)
The Collaborative Improvement and Innovation Network (CoIIN) to Reduce Infant Mortality is a multi-year national initiative supported by the Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB) of the Health Resources and Service Administration (HRSA) in the Department of Health and Human Services.
This movement engages multiple stakeholders including: federal, state and local leaders, public and private agencies, professionals and communities to utilize quality improvement, innovation and collaborative learning to reduce infant mortality and improve birth outcomes.
Illinois has participated in a regional CoIIN network since 2013, which has re-launched as a national project as of January 2015. The four strategy areas that Illinois decided to focus on are:
- Safe Sleep and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) Prevention: Goal is to improve safe sleep practices
- Pre-conception/Inter-conception Care: Goal is to promote women’s health before, during and after pregnancies, including a focus on postpartum visits
- Social Determinants of Health: Goal is to integrate evidence-based policies/programs and strategies to improve the social conditions and structures that impact health and inequalities in birth outcomes
- Risk-appropriate Perinatal Care (perinatal regionalization): Goal is to ensure the delivery of higher risk infants and mothers at hospitals that are properly equipped to handle their complex medical needs
The Office of Women’s Health and Family Services has committed to incorporating the efforts of this initiative into our work on a daily basis. Although the work has just launched to this new national platform, it is anticipated that a focused approach to each of these four areas over the coming years will not only reduce infant mortality, but also more generally improve the health of Illinois women, babies, and families.