91.7 Ann Arbor/Detroit 104.1 Grand Rapids 91.3 Port Huron 89.7 Lansing 91.1 Flint
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Improving Michigan's infant mortality rate

Michigan Dept. of Community Health

The Snyder Administration has outlined its plan to reduce infant mortality in Michigan, but some say the plan needs more state funding to work.

At seven in every 1,000 live births, Michigan’s infant mortality rate is slightly higher than the national average.  The number drops to five in 1,000 births among Caucasians in Michigan. Among African-Americans, the number soars to 14 in every 1,000 live births.

The Snyder administration is proposing an eight-point plan to reduce infant mortality including improving prenatal care, promoting safer infant sleeping practices and expanding abstinence education in schools.

“The state of Michigan will prioritize activities and resources towards the highest risk communities. ..which will allow us to create a movement toward eliminating disparities that exist,” said Olga Dazzo, the director of the Michigan Department of Community Health.

State officials say they will rely partly on grant funding from the federal government and private foundations to pay for the program.

But a medical group deeply involved in infant health says the state should do more.

Amy Zaagman is the executive director of the Michigan Council for Maternal and Child Health. The council represents hospitals, clinics and doctors involved in infant health.

“The governor has made infant mortality a leading health issue in the state. And yet, very few direct, dedicated resources have been given to this project,” she said.

Zaagman says the state has sharply cut funding to health education in schools, and family planning clinics that promote contraception.

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
Related Content
  • Across the country, black women fare worse than white women in almost every aspect of reproductive health. And black infants are more than twice as likely as white infants to die before their first birthdays. States like Delaware are spending millions to improve those odds.