Baby death rate is one of country’s highest

Dr Graham Wardman Director of Public Health, Calderdale
Dr Graham Wardman Director of Public Health, Calderdale

CALDERDALE has one of the worst rates in the country for deaths of children aged under one, new figures show.

The figures are included in the 2012 child health profile which provides a snapshot of child health in each local authority on a number of key indicators.

Calderdale’s infant mortality rate is among the worst 25 per cent in the country - with an rate of 7.7 deaths per 1,000.

The England average was 4.6.

The area was also among the worst 25 per cent in the country for the number of children killed or seriously injured in road accidents - with a rate of 38.9 per 100,000 population of under 18s, above the England average of 23.6.

It was also in the worst 25 per cent for tooth decay levels in England among 12-year-olds and hospital admissions due to substance misuse of 15-24 year olds.

The area scored in the best 25 per cent for immunisations of children in care, with 97.7 of children in care with up-to-date immunisations.

It also scored in the top 25 per cent for children having someone to talk to - with 70 per cent of children reporting they would speak to their mum or dad if worried.

Calderdale also scored well for the number of children using drugs or smoking - just two per cent of children in years eight and ten reproting they had smoked a cigarette or cannabis in the last four weeks.

This was half the England average of four per cent of children smoking or taking drugs.

Dr Graham Wardman, director of public health for NHS Calderdale, said:  “The 2011 Calderdale Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA) identifies that the district does have a significantly higher infant mortality rate (IMR) than England.

“Indeed, over the last five years the IMR for the most deprived communities of Calderdale is more than double that of the least deprived.

“Within Calderdale, around one quarter of infant deaths are related to congenital anomalies and a further quarter to prematurity.

“With the involvement of partner agencies, an infant mortality review was carried out in Calderdale with a long-term action plan to address the inequality gaps through early interventions to: change lifestyle behaviours during pregnancy, increase breastfeeding, reduce obesity and smoking during pregnancy, promote maternal and infant nutrition, reduce child poverty and improve access to services.”

Dr Wardman added: “Reducing the infant mortality rate is a priority for NHS Calderdale and we and our partners remain committed to tackling these health inequalities through clinical interventions, and also sustained early intervention on the social determinants of wellbeing in order to improve the health of our local population.”

The child health profiles were published by the Child and Maternal Health Observatory (ChiMat), part of the Yorkshire and Humber Public Health Observatory (YHPHO) which is part of a network of nine Public Health Observatories in England.