Many little Brisbane lives have been lost, but what can be done to help?
An alarming new report has found the southern Brisbane area has the most child deaths under the age of five in Australia.
This data comes from the Healthy Communities: Child and Maternal Health 2009-2012 report, with statistics within the report showing that more children under the age of five were dying in south Brisbane during this time than the entire Northern Territory.
According to the report the infant and young child mortality rate was more than double in Greater Metro South Brisbane (6.1 deaths per 1,000 live births) compared to South Western Melbourne (2.9 deaths per 1,000 live births).
In fact, Australia has infant mortality rates three times higher than the best-performing countries. We have an infant mortality rate (3.3 deaths per 1,000 live births) three times higher than that of the best-performing country, Iceland (1.1 deaths per 1,000 live births). This is the first report from the National Health Performance Authority that presents data at a local level for infant and young child mortality, low birthweight, smoking during pregnancy and access to antenatal care.
While the State Government has formed a task-force to investigate the possible causes of Queensland’s higher infant death rate, members of the midwifery community have suggested that better and more available care from midwives could have a positive effect on the life expectancy of children under five.
Professor of Midwifery and Australian College of Midwives spokesperson Dr Hannah Dahlen says children of women who have access to care from a midwife both during and after the birth have a better life expectancy due to the level of comfort and care they receive from building a trusting relationship.
“We know now that women who have access to a midwife during pregnancy and six weeks after the birth have a better outcome,” she says. “Otherwise, they may not access follow up care directly after the birth and they may fall through the cracks, the system can be very patchy.
“Women need to demand better care and demand they have access to a midwife. Some hospitals do not have the midwifery model in place and this needs to change.
“Expectant mothers need to contact their local hospital to find out what services and midwifery services are available.”