Infant mortality is on the rise again in France [OPINION]

This is a figure that has gone strictly unnoticed in these electoral times, and yet essential: for the first time since the Second World War, infant mortality has increased.

France is definitely not a Nordic country. If we had been Finland or Sweden, the deaths of 1200 children under the age of one might have been avoided. A finding of untold hardness for parents who have experienced such an ordeal. However, it is emphasized a study recently published in the scientific journal The Lancet Regional Health Europe.

Infant mortality had experienced a continuous decline in France from the post-war period to the end of the 2000s. However, the death rate of children under the age of one has been increasing again since 2012. It thus went from 3,32 deaths per 1000 births in 2012 to 3,56 deaths per 1000 births in 2019. The increase in deaths would be 7% in ten years.

However, it is difficult to grasp the exact causes, even if the mother's health criteria before and during pregnancy undoubtedly come into play: obesity, smoking but also older age: in parallel with the multiplication of multiple pregnancies, more and more more mothers are over the age of 40.

Unable to be fixed with certainty on the reasons for this increase in the deaths of all young babies, the authors of the study call for an analysis of each death, as is also the case for maternal mortality for the past twenty years. 'years.

The highest rates of infant mortality are in the West Indies, Reunion and Seine-Saint-Denis. Proof that access to care and precariousness can contribute to this increase. Could it be the symptom of a deeper social fracture? It is possible, and even more so when many small maternities have been closed for reasons of savings.

In total, the cost reduction policy carried out by successive Ministries of Health will have led to the disappearance of 338 maternity units out of 835 between 1997 and 2019. That is to say the disappearance of 40% of them in less than twenty years. However, moving maternities away from home also means taking the risk of multiplying emergency deliveries, endangering the health of both the mother and her child.

“The recent historic increase in infant mortality since 2012 in France should prompt an urgent in-depth investigation to understand the causes and prepare corrective actions,” believe the researchers behind this study. Despite these worrying results, “the reduction of infant mortality in France has not been identified as a priority target by the public health authorities and no in-depth analysis has been carried out in France. »

Judikael Hirel

source: Le Figaro

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