Health bosses welcome drop in baby deaths in Bradford

THE number of children who die in infancy in the Bradford district has fallen again, according to new figures.

A report from Bradford Council’s director of public health, Anita Parkin, shows infant mortality rates are now at their lowest rate for over a decade and have fallen every year for the last six years.

The latest infant mortality rate of 5.9 per 1,000 births for 2011-13 is a reduction from 7.0 in 2010-12 and 8.3 in 2005-07. The figures are also ahead of projected targets agreed in 2011 for reducing infant mortality.

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Ms Parkin said: “Although we have seen recent improvements, we are working hard to further reduce the risks by reducing the impact of child poverty and improving education and housing standards.

“We’re also looking to ensure families get access to high-quality services and support from pre-conception, pregnancy through to infancy and to improve nutrition and breastfeeding for babies.”

Michael Jameson, strategic director for children’s services, said: “We have seen a real difference being made across the district in terms of infant mortality but we need to continue to work hard to ensure every child gets the best start in life possible.

“Bradford Council, the NHS and other key partners have been working hard to tackle the causes of infant mortality and we need to maintain focus in order to make further improvements.”

The Every Baby Matters action plan over the last year has seen improved access to midwives before 12 weeks of pregnancy and a reduction in the teenage conception rate to below the national average.

Health bosses said high vaccination rates for infants were being maintained and increased numbers of health visitors also had an impact on reducing death rates.

All children’s centres in Bradford focus on improving immunisations, breastfeeding rates and nutrition in their plans. There has also been an increased take up of vitamins in pregnant women and young babies.