Inequalities in infant mortality: An evaluation of the situation in the World and Turkey

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IZMIR DR BEHCET UZ COCUK HASTANESI DERGISI, vol.1, no.3, pp.98-104, 2011 (Journal Indexed in ESCI) identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 1 Issue: 3
  • Publication Date: 2011
  • Doi Number: 10.5222/buchd.2011.098
  • Page Numbers: pp.98-104
  • Keywords: Infant mortality, health inequalities, rate ratio, socioeconomic status


In the world, in 2010, 5,4 million infants died before their first birthday. 70% of infant mortalities up to 5 years of age occur within the first year of life. Infant mortality is a result of combination of factors related to the individual, mother, household, community and environment, and represents a sensitive indicator of health state, and welfare of the community. Diminishing child deaths at 2015 to a level that is one third the level in 1990 is a among the Millennium Development Goals. The criteria established for the achievement of this goal are infant mortality rates up to 5 years of age, infant mortality and percentage of children immunized against measles. Despite the intensive attention of international public opinion, and a serious decrease in infant and child mortality rates within the last 50 years, the inequalities between countries are sustained with an increasing trend and the rates are far behind the 2015 goals. This marked difference between developed and developing countries is more intense for various socioeconomic groups within the country in question and thus, socio-economic status turns out to be an important determinant of infant deaths. In Turkey, when the infant mortality is evaluated, it is seen that existing difference between educational groups and regions is sustained with a gradually increasing trend, while inequalities between urban and rural areas remain the same. For the efforts to eliminate these inequalities in infant mortality and to achieve a level similar to the countries of our region, the necessity for economic and social policies isabsolute. The deepening of these inequalities makes it necessary to reevaluate the health services for the mother and the child and the means of financing with respect to infant health. It is vital to adopt a perspective that concentrates on health care services in proportion to the level of disadvantage.