The U.S. based Pediatrics magazine reports that Chile has one of the lowest infant mortality rates in the world, noting that between 1990 and 2000 the number of deaths among infants (between one to 27 days old) fell from 8.3 to 5.7 for every 1,000 births.
"We're talking about a very important fall in the number of infant deaths," said Dr. Rogelio González, director of the High-Risk Pregnancy Unit for the Dr. Sótero Del Rio Hospital. "And for Chile to be among the countries that have the lowest rate of infant mortality in the world demonstrates a huge achievement in neonatal advances over the last decade."
The low infant mortality rate can be attributed to increased training of medical doctors for neonatal and postpartum care over the last decade. This increased care suggests that the health and general quality of life issues are improving in Chile.
Researchers from the magazine collected data about almost three million births in Chile between 1990 and 2000. They said that the sharp decrease in deaths can be attributed to increase funding for public health care programs implemented during the 90s.
During that decade Chile worked aggressively to improve their Neonatal Intensive Care Units (ICU) throughout the country. This included modernizing neonatal cardiopulmonary monitors and requiring mandatory staff training in areas such as CPR.
Chile's achievement is especially significant because of the high number of babies who are born with abnormal congenital diseases, which is not the case in the majority of other developed countries who were observed in the study.
"Because of this, we are doubly satisfied and grateful," said González.