The survival rate for babies has improved across the Bradford area for the fifth year in a row.

The district’s infant mortality rates are also at their lowest for the last decade and ahead of projected targets.

Bradford Council’s executive member for children’s services, Councillor Ralph Berry, said: “It’s really encouraging to see such positive figures and shows the hard work Bradford Council, the NHS and our partners are putting in to tackle infant mortality.

“We also need to acknowledge the remarkable achievements made by our local communities who have worked with us – particularly where the birth rates and infant mortality figures are highest.”

Figures released by the Office of National Statistics yesterday show that 141 children aged under one died in West Yorkshire in 2012. Fifty, or 35 per cent, of those were in Bradford.

The national infant mortality rate – measured by calculating the number of deaths per 1,000 live births – for 2012 was 4.1, compared to six in Bradford.

Infant mortality rates are compared over three-year periods as the numbers involved are relatively low and small fluctuations can significantly affect the rate.

The 2012 figures mean that for 2010/12, the infant mortality rate for Bradford was seven per 1,000 live births, compared to 7.5 for 2009/11. For the 2005/07 period, the rate was 8.3.

In 2009 the district’s Every Baby Matters Action Plan was instigated to tackle infant mortality after a report by the Bradford District Infant Mortality Commission.

Director of Public Health Anita Parkin said: “Although more than 99 per cent of babies survive past their first birthday, we can’t forget that the death of any baby can have a significant impact on its parents, family and local community.

“There are ten key areas we will continue to focusing on to improve the survival rates of babies in Bradford district.”

The Every Baby Matters Action Plan has led to a reduction in the teenage conception rate to below the national average; high vaccination rates for infants; ongoing specialist genetic inheritance training available for health and social care staff; investment in increased numbers of health visitors and an increase take up of healthy start vitamins with more than 40 trained vitamin-D Community Champions.

The new figures also showed there were 19,441 deaths overall in West Yorkshire in 2012, 4,261 of which were in the Bradford area.