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Graphic Truth: Infant mortality in the OECD

Graphic Truth: Infant mortality in the OECD
Annie Guggliotta

American parents are more than four times as likely as their peers in Estonia to lose a baby during or shortly after birth. It is one of the most devastating human experiences – and a key indicator of a country’s development. After all, if even the most vulnerable babies survive, the healthcare system must be doing something right. By that metric, the US looks more like Chile or Slovakia than the global superpower it is.

And it’s not just babies who are more at risk in the US. A study from the Commonwealth Foundation found that American mothers are twice as likely to die during or shortly after childbirth than their Canadian peers, and more than 10 times as likely as women in New Zealand.

Part of the problem comes down to a shortage of care for expectant mothers. The US has about 15 gynecologists per 1,000 live births, compared to 54 in the UK and 78 in Sweden. That means less attentive care during and after pregnancy, which can lead to early warnings going overlooked.


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