Reducing Infant Mortality and Premature Birth

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. | Wednesday, December 9, 2015

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STATEMENT FROM DR. JENNIFER L. HOWSE, PRESIDENT OF THE MARCH OF DIMES, regarding today's release of the NCHS Data Brief, "Mortality in the United States, 2014":

Reducing infant mortality is part of the March of Dimes mission, and for infant death rates to reach an historic low is worthy of celebration.  We are proud that the March of Dimes Prematurity Prevention Campaign, launched in 2003, has played a key role in reducing preterm birth and associated infant mortality.

However, we should point out that preterm birth -- with preterm-related causes of death including bacterial sepsis of newborn and respiratory distress of newborn -- remains the leading cause of infant mortality and the number one killer of newborns.  Many communities, as well as specific racial and ethnic groups, continue to suffer from the tragic and costly consequences of double-digit rates of preterm birth. 

On November 17, 2015, the March of Dimes unveiled a plan to focus more attention and resources on these “high population and/or high-burden” areas with the goal of reducing the nation’s preterm birth rate to 5.5 percent by 2030.  The first phase of the March of Dimes plan will focus on selected interventions, such as optimal birth spacing, in the six states or U.S. territories with the highest rates of preterm birth. The second phase of the plan calls for bringing attention to an additional 10 states with more than 100,000 births each year.  Meanwhile, the March of Dimes will continue our ongoing prematurity prevention activities in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.

About March of Dimes

March of Dimes leads the fight for the health of all moms and babies. We support research, lead programs and provide education and advocacy so that every baby can have the best possible start. Building on a successful 80-year legacy of impact and innovation, we empower every mom and every family.

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