Infant mortality rate still high in the Netherlands
A Europe-wide research project has revealed that the Netherlands has the sixth-highest infant mortality rate on the continent.
Research into Perinatal Mortality
The research project, conducted every five years, looked into the perinatal mortality rate for the year 2010. Perinatal is defined as the period before, during or in the first four weeks after birth, as long as the pregnancy has lasted at least 22 weeks.
Twenty-nine European countries and regions were analysed and the Netherlands was shown to have reduced its rate of perinatal mortality by 14 percent.
Improvements from previous study
The previous study, five years ago, had exposed the Netherlands as having the second highest infant mortality rate on the continent, a revelation which triggered a host of reforms in order to bring the rate down.
In 2004, 10,5 babies per 1.000 births passed away, whereas in 2010 the rate fell to nine per 1.000 births.
Rate remains relatively high
Despite these improvements, having the sixth highest rate of perinatal infant mortality is undoubtedly a cause for concern. However, the dating of the project at 2010 has been posited as a sign that things may not be as bad as the research makes out.
Reforms introduced in order to reduce the infant mortality rate were initiated in 2009 and Professor Koos van der Velden, chairmain of the committee who devised the reforms, has said that improvements cannot be expected to be seen in just one year.
Homebirths and communication
For all the improvements made in the past few years, controversy still revolves around the Dutch preference for homebirths. Although the rate of homebirths has fallen significantly in recent years and there has been no evidence that they are more dangerous than a hospital birth, it is still a controversial subject.
The Volkskrant further suggests that communication between obstetricians and gynecologists, who work separately during a mother's pregnancy, may have an affect on the mortality rate.
Highest perinatal mortality rates in Europe
› Brussels Area
› The Netherlands