Infant mortality refers to the number of deaths of infants (aged 0-1) in any given year per 1000 live births1. The most common causes of death before one year of age are conditions originating in the perinatal period and congenital conditions2. Other common causes of death in this period are Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, injury and accidental threats to breathing2.
Known risks associated with incidence of infant mortality include social and economic factors such as low income, unemployment, teenage motherhood, and mother’s education3,4. As such, infant mortality can be used as an indicator of the general wellbeing of a population and as an indicator of the accessibility, quality, and performance of the health system in maternal and perinatal health5.
As infant mortality is associated with both social and economic factors and healthcare quality and access it can be used by policy makers and health providers to give insight into the health of mothers and babies as well as the broader population in a region. Therefore, combined with other factors, infant mortality can be used to inform policy, strategy and intervention to support child health and development.
- Australian Institute of Health and Welfare [Internet]. Canberra ACT. Australia's health 2016; Chapter 5.3 How Healthy Are Australia's Children? 2016 [cited 2018 May 15]. Available from: https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/australias-health/australias-health-2016/contents/summary
- Australian Institute of Health and Welfare [Internet]. Canberra ACT. Deaths in Australia. 2017 [cited 2018 May 15]. Available from: https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/life-expectancy-death/deaths-in-australia/contents/life-expectancy
- Gracey M, King M. Indigenous Health Part 1: Determinants and Disease Patterns. Lancet, 2009; 374(9683):65-75. Available from: https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(09)60914-4
- Marmot M. Health in an unequal world: Social circumstances, biology and disease. Clinical Medicine, 2006; 6(6):559. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17228555
- Australian Institute of Health and Welfare [Internet]. Canberra ACT. Infant Mortality: Mortality rate for infants less than 1 year of age. 2017. [cited 2018 May 15]. Available from: http://analytics.aihw.gov.au/Viewer/VisualAnalyticsViewer_guest.jsp?reportPath=%2FAIHW%2FReleasedPublic%2FCHI%2FReports%2F2017&reportName=Infant%20mortality&reportViewOnly=true&viewerMode=modern&commentsEnabled=false&propertiesEnabled=false&appSwitcherDisabled=true