The state’s infant mortality rates are the lowest they’ve been since Indiana started recording the data, according to new numbers released by the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH). This is the third year numbers have trended downward.
The United States ranks 170 out of 225 countries according to the CIA’s World Factbook. Indiana has long ranked as one of the worst states in the Midwest when it comes to infant mortality, particularly for Black babies. But, more Hoosier babies are living past their first year, according to preliminary birth rate data released by the state.
Preliminary data released by the ISDH shows statewide infant mortality rate fell from 6.8 per 1,000 live births in 2018 to 6.5 in 2019. The mortality rate among Black infants fell from 13.0 per 1,000 births in 2018 to 11.0 in 2019. A total of 527 Hoosier babies died before their first birthdays in 2019, down from 559 in 2018 and 602 in 2017.
The OB Navigator program, now known as the My Healthy Baby program, plays a significant role in the state’s effort to help curb infant mortality rates. The program offers new moms personalized support and resources through the baby's first year. More than 20 counties already launched the program. The state plans to add another 25 by the end of 2021, and available to all pregnant women insured by Medicaid by mid-2023.
The state also touts a number of other initiatives, including programs to help moms with substance use disorders, setting up community partnerships and even rating hospitals to make sure moms’ needs will be met.
State officials said the goal is for Indiana to have the lowest infant mortality rate in the Midwest by 2024.