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Jan 6, 2017

Babies Doing Better after Central Region Intervention

The Central Health Region also released the latest data on the infant mortality rate for the Belize District in 2016 and there is some good news to report. In 2015, the infant mortality rate was at twenty four per thousand live births, but by 2016 that number had almost halved and now stands at fourteen point six per one thousand live births. Doctor Zuniga says that the decrease in infant mortality rate has to do with interventions on the part by the Ministry, but that the causes of these deaths are linked to some of the top non-communicable and communicable diseases.


Javier Zuniga

Dr. Javier Zuniga, Regional Manager, Central Health Region

“The issue that we have with the infant deaths is that children are dying within the neo-natal period; what do we mean by that? Within zero and six days of birth. And why are they dying so young? This is because they are being born very prematurely, so most of these babies are being born before twenty eight weeks of gestation and this gives less chance of survival for these little babies. The causes of prematurity is actually directly related to non-communicable and communicable diseases. If we look at the communicable, the vaginal infections and urinary tract infections – these are common in the female population. So, if females do not get their regular prenatal checks then of course this can lead to a premature delivery. We have also a lot of women who smoke, drink, use illegal drugs and all of these lead to women delivering prematurely. And not only that, the second cause of death is congenital malformation. So, it also leads to some form of malformation as well.”


Andrea Polanco

“So, in 2016 we are fourteen point six per one thousand and in 2015 we were at twenty to one thousand. What do you think led to that decrease we’ve seen?”


Dr, Javier Zuniga

“What we did was that we put a plan in place and so this plan focused primarily on the risk areas of Belize City, which would be south side Belize City. And so we put together a plan to try and get more mothers into the clinic before the first trimester which would be the twelfth week of gestation so that they could be followed closely during their pregnancy.”

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