President ‘worried’ by provisional rise in infant mortality in 2018

in Lifestyle · 24-01-2019 10:49:00 · 0 Comments
President ‘worried’ by provisional rise in infant mortality in 2018

Portugal’s president, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, has expressed concern at figures showing an increase in infant mortality in the country, arguing that there is a need to determine the causes so that the trend does not continue.

“Assuming these numbers correspond to reality, it worries me,” the President said, adding: “Because one of the banners of the democracy [following the 1974 coup that ended the Salazar dictatorship] was a revolutionary change in the domain of infant mortality, a drastic reduction.”
De Sousa was speaking in Porto, where he was visiting at the invitation of the city’s mayor, independent Rui Moreira, to attend a presentation of a plan to convert the old Campanhã industrial slaughterhouse. In his comments, he declined to interpret the figures on child mortality, but stressed that he “would like” to understand, with the help of experts, whether they corresponded to reality and, if so, why this had happened.
“If what has been reported is true and, if it is true that one of the achievements of [the 1974 Revolution] has gone into reverse, then what is necessary is to ascertain why this has happened, so that it does not continue to happen,” he said.
According to official data that are as yet provisional, last year there were 3.28 deaths in the first year of life per thousand live births, up from 2.69 in 2017 and 3.24 in 2016. Last year’s rfigure was, according to the Directorate-General of Health (DGS), the highest since 2013.
The publication of the figures by Correio da Manhã newspaper prompted the Order of Doctors to request a rapid action to ascertain the causes of the sharp increase in infant mortality.
The DGS has said, however, that the provisional figures for 2018 are within the normal range as well as remaining below the European Union average.

In comments to journalists, the Director-General, Graça Freitas, noted that the 2018 provisional figure of 3.28 deaths per thousand births was very similar to the 2016 figure. Last year’s figure should not be compared solely to that of 2017, she said, since the latter was “abnormally low”.
This follows a promising year in 2017, when there were 226 deaths of children under one year old (56 fewer than in 2016).
The infant mortality rate that year was 2.6 deaths per thousand live births (3.2 in 2016). The lowest figure for this rate was recorded in 2010, with 2.5 infant deaths per thousand live births.
Statistics from INE also showed that the population in Portugal declined in 2017, for the ninth consecutive year, since the number of deaths continues to be higher than that of births.
According to the INE, Portugal’s population shrank by 23,432 people.
In 2017, 86,154 children were born to mothers living in Portugal (live births), 972 fewer than in the previous year, representing a decrease of 1.1 percent.
Of the total number of live births, 54.9 percent were born “out of wedlock.”
The total number of deaths of people residing in Portugal was 109,586, representing a drop of 0.9 percent (down by 987 deaths) compared to 2016.
Of the total deaths, 54,987 were men and 54,599 were women, and 85 percent of the deaths were people aged 65 and over.
Research published by the Lancet, at UNICEF headquarters described as “ground-breaking”, had previously listed Portugal as being among the top ten countries in the world for newborn babies while also enjoying one of the lowest neo-natal mortality rates in the world.
Previous research had revealed that Portugal was among the top nations in the world when it came to infant mortality, which takes into consideration fatality rates for children up to the age of five.


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