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The Scottish government has issued an investigation into the suddenly rising infant mortality rate in the country. There have been two spikes over a period of six months. Earlier the figures had shown that the death rate for babies under one year of age was at its highest in 10 years. The increase was high enough to initiate an investigation.
As per reports, at least 18 babies (under four weeks) died in March 2022 and around 21 died in September last year. The death rate stood at 4.6 per 1,000 births in March. Infant mortality rate differs from month to month but the average among newborns is just two per 1,000 births. The infant mortality rate in September was the highest since the records started in 2017.
The review that will be carried out by Healthcare Improvement Scotland is expected to last for nine months and cover all reported baby deaths between 2021 and 2022.
While no conclusive link has been established between the sudden spike in infant deaths and COVID-19, some have said that getting the infection during pregnancy is associated with problems in both mother and child. As per reports, an association between the infection, increased risk of stillbirth and premature birth has been observed. While many experts have said that COVID-19 might not be a possible reason behind this sudden spike.
As per some experts, though pandemic has a lot of pressure on health services and that could have an impact. Many pregnant women who contracted the disease had become seriously ill and this led to premature deliveries which is the biggest driver of neonatal mortality. However, the health experts are still eyeing for answers that only the investigation can tell.
The first month of life is the most vulnerable period for child survival. As per WHO, Children who die within the first 28 days of birth suffer from conditions and diseases associated with lack of quality care at or immediately after birth and in the first days of life. Preterm birth, intrapartum-related complications (birth asphyxia or inability to breathe at birth), infections and birth defects are the leading causes of most neonatal deaths.
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