UK child death rate among worst in western Europe, say experts

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Posted by: Sue Atkins

babies being born

I read with horror the article in today’s Guardian that the UK child death rate among worst in western Europe, say experts with only Malta having more deaths of children under five.

Children in the UK are more likely to die before they reach their fifth birthday than in any other western European country except Malta.

Almost five in every 1,000 children born in the UK die before the age of five, a rate the authors of the global study said was surprising for a country with free, universal healthcare. Researchers at the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) in Seattle said that 3,000 children in the UK died before their first birthday in 2012.

Experts said poverty and deprivation in the UK, together with cuts in welfare, were directly linked to the deaths of the youngest children. Babies who die under age of one tend to be from deprived households, have a low birthweight and have parents who smoked. Between ages of one and five, deaths are mostly linked to injuries, accidents and serious diseases such as cancer.

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