Some good news for Alabama today from state health officials...
2009's infant mortality rate is the lowest ever recorded.
"Our infant mortality rate is the lowest in Alabama history. It's the fewest number of infant deaths we've ever had," said Dr. Donald Williamson of the Alabama Health Department.
The most current rate is from 2009. It's down to 8.2 from a rate of 10 in 2007.
Williamson attributes the decline to a number of positive changes.
“Our total numbers of teen births are down, and the woman who smoked went down,” said Williamson.
Even though the rate is down, some officials say, it's not good enough. Houston county health official, Peggy Blakeney, puts things into perspective.
“Anytime you have an infant death that's unacceptable. Right now at the infant mortality rate of 8.2 that's 8 deaths per one thousand live births,” said Blakeney.
However, health officials say in the bigger picture our nation and our state are doing well.
"Backing up over the years from 1945 of a rate of 44.8 to what we now see at 8.2 from the state that's significant decrease in infant mortality,” said Blakeney.
"Overall this is a step in the right direction, how this is going to rank us nationally is too early to tell,” said Williamson.
If you look at a map of our area, you can see Houston County’s rate is higher than the statewide rate.
Blakeney says it's important to get those numbers down.
She says the way to do that is by looking at our current system of care and finding out what needs to be changed.
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