KDHE Office of Communications
Topeka, Kan. – The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) reports the Kansas Infant Mortality Rate reached its lowest level in 2015, at 5.9 infant deaths per 1,000 live births. Throughout the month of September, in conjunction with Infant Mortality Awareness Month, Kansas is continuing efforts to raise awareness of infant mortality while supporting women, infants and families across the state.
The Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) reflects the health and well-being of a nation or state. The U.S. rate is 6 infant deaths per 1,000 live births. The statewide IMR of 5.9 is below the Healthy People 2020 target of 6. Overall, 230 infant deaths were reported in 2015 to KDHE, the lowest number ever reported.
“The Kansas Department of Health and Environment is committed to working with our partners to reduce infant mortality. Together with partners and communities, we have significantly reduced infant mortality in our State through applied research and community intervention,” said Dr. Susan Mosier, MD, MBA, FACS, Secretary of KDHE and State Health Officer.
KDHE is one of more than 20 organizations represented on the Kansas Maternal & Child Health Council which addresses infant mortality and identifies potential solutions and recommendations. Council experts and partners in maternal and child health are working to raise awareness about infant mortality and advance research into the causes of infant deaths.
In 2015, the IMR for Hispanic (any race) infants was 7.6 deaths per 1,000 live births. By comparison, the IMR for White non-Hispanic infants was 4.7 and the IMR for Black non-Hispanic infants was 10.4.
“Even though we have reached our lowest number of infant deaths ever reported, we are not done. We will continue to work with our partners to further decrease infant mortality and disparities in infant mortality,” said Dr. Mosier.
From 1996 to 2015, the statewide IMR has dropped by 28 percent, and the IMR for White non-Hispanic infants has dropped by 34.7 percent. The IMR for Black non-Hispanic infants has dropped by 54.8 percent from 1996 to 2015, and the IMR for Hispanics (any race) has increased by 35.7 percent. Racial and ethnic disparities in Kansas infant mortality mirror national trends for White non-Hispanic, Black non-Hispanic and Hispanic populations.
KDHE and partners are advancing key public health initiatives with families and communities. These initiatives include the Infant Mortality Collaborative Improvement and Innovation Network (IM CoIIN) and the Pregnancy Risk Assessment & Monitoring System (PRAMS).
IM CoIIN is a multi-year national movement that engages federal, state and local leaders; public and private agencies; professionals; and communities to employ quality improvement, innovation, and collaborative learning to reduce infant mortality and improve birth outcomes. Kansas is primarily focused on smoking cessation and reducing preterm birth through appropriate utilization of progesterone and elimination of early elective delivery.
Kansas launched PRAMS in September 2016, a collaborative project with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Kansas will obtain data to understand the risk factors that contribute to poor pregnancy outcomes and understand the experiences and behaviors before, during and after pregnancy that result in high risk births. Data collection will begin in 2017 and involve approximately 1,250 mothers.
A number of other KDHE Family Health initiatives are underway and being implemented in collaboration with local communities and health care providers. Find out more about maternal and child health programming at www.kdheks.gov/bfh or www.kansasmch.org. Review more statistics at http://www.kdheks.gov/phi/index.htm.