The district’s infant mortality rate is slowly declining, but remains significantly higher than average and the gap between the most deprived areas of Bradford and the rest of the district remains, a report has revealed.
Latest figures for 2010/11 reveal the infant mortality rate – death at an age under one per 1,000 live births – for Bradford is 7.9, down from 8.1 last year.
It is the fourth consecutive year the rate has shown a decline. However, the infant mortality rate for Yorkshire and Humber is lower at 5.2 and for England it is 4.4.
The figures are presented in a six-monthly progress report on infant mortality by the director of public health Anita Parkin and the strategic director of children’s services, Kath Tunstall, which goes before Bradford Council’s health overview and scrutiny committee on Thursday.
The report follows concerns expressed last year by the health and children’s services overview and scrutiny committee about the level of progress being made in reducing infant mortality in Bradford.
It highlights work programmes and reiterates infant mortality remains a priority for the NHS and the district as a whole.
A spokesman for NHS Airedale, Bradford and Leeds and Bradford Council said: “The Every Baby Matters (EBM) programme aims to improve maternal and infant health and reduce infant mortality across the Bradford district.
“This builds on the ten recommendations of the Bradford District Infant Mortality Commission (IMC) and sets the agenda for continuing to make progress in this crucial area.
“The focus is now on making changes in five key areas. These are: child poverty – including unemployment, education and housing; nutrition and breastfeeding; early access to pre-conception, maternity and infant care and prevention, and early intervention for at risk families; smoking, alcohol and substance misuse and genetic inheritance awareness.”
There are many projects under way designed to reduce infant mortality.