This from the NYT
April 22, 2007
In Turnabout, Infant Deaths Climb in South
By ERIK ECKHOLM
HOLLANDALE, Miss. — For decades, Mississippi and neighboring states with large black populations and expanses of enduring poverty made steady progress in reducing infant death. But, in what health experts call an ominous portent, progress has stalled and in recent years the death rate has risen in Mississippi and several other states.
The setbacks have raised questions about the impact of cuts in welfare and Medicaid and of poor access to doctors, and, many doctors say, the growing epidemics of obesity, diabetes and hypertension among potential mothers, some of whom tip the scales here at 300 to 400 pounds.
“I don’t think the rise is a fluke, and it’s a disturbing trend, not only in Mississippi but throughout the Southeast,” said Dr. Christina Glick, a neonatologist in Jackson, Miss., and past president of the National Perinatal Association.
To the shock of Mississippi officials, who in 2004 had seen the infant mortality rate — defined as deaths by the age of 1 year per thousand live births — fall to 9.7, the rate jumped sharply in 2005, to 11.4. The national average in 2003, the last year for which data have been compiled, was 6.9. Smaller rises also occurred in 2005 in Alabama, North Carolina and Tennessee. Louisiana and South Carolina saw rises in 2004 and have not yet reported on 2005.
Whether the rises continue or not, federal officials say, rates have stagnated in the Deep South at levels well above the national average.
Most striking, here and throughout the country, is the large racial disparity. In Mississippi, infant deaths among blacks rose to 17 per thousand births in 2005 from 14.2 per thousand in 2004, while those among whites rose to 6.6 per thousand from 6.1. (The national average in 2003 was 5.7 for whites and 14.0 for blacks.)
The overall jump in Mississippi meant that 65 more babies died in 2005 than in the previous year, for a total of 481.
The toll is visible in Hollandale, a tired town in the impoverished Delta region of northwest Mississippi.
The main causes of infant death in poor Southern regions included premature and low-weight births; Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, which is linked to parental smoking and unsafe sleeping positions as well as unknown causes; congenital defects; and, among poor black teenage mothers in particular, deaths from accidents and disease.
Dr. William Langston, an obstetrician at the Mississippi Department of Health, said in a telephone interview that officials could not yet explain the sudden increase and were investigating. Dr. Langston said the state was working to extend prenatal care and was experimenting with new outreach programs. But, he added, “programs take money, and Mississippi is the poorest state in the nation.”
Poverty has climbed in Mississippi in recent years, and things are tougher in other ways for poor women, with cuts in cash welfare and changes in the medical safety net.
In 2004, Gov. Haley Barbour came to office promising not to raise taxes and to cut Medicaid. Face-to-face meetings were required for annual re-enrollment in Medicaid and CHIP, the children’s health insurance program; locations and hours for enrollment changed, and documentation requirements became more stringent.
As a result, the number of non-elderly people, mainly children, covered by the Medicaid and CHIP programs declined by 54,000 in the 2005 and 2006 fiscal years. According to the Mississippi Health Advocacy Program in Jackson, some eligible pregnant women were deterred by the new procedures from enrolling.
One former Medicaid official, Maria Morris, who resigned last year as head of an office that informed the public about eligibility, said that under the Barbour administration, her program was severely curtailed.
“The philosophy was to reduce the rolls and our activities were contrary to that policy,” she said.
In the Lost City of New Orleans, this Administration has already proven beyind any doubt just how utterly willing it is to sit idly by and let the poor and the brown die.
In its relentless jihad on science and the environment and reasonable gun control, just how uninterested it is in the health and well-being of it’s citizens.
In the smirking incompetent persona of Abu Gonzalez and his record of using the Constitution as ass-floss, just how much naked contempt it has for any concept of Justice.
The evidence for just how little it cares about lying to the public about matters of life and death is on prominent display every day in the blood-soaked streets of Iraq, and proof of its degenerate racism found in its enthusiastic embrace of the Southern Strategy to win elections, and its honored and feted spokesrodents found spouting riviers of hatespeech every hour of every day on AM Radio, year after year after year.
And genocide is still genocide even when it's carried out in slow motion, in the shadows and slums, and with a drawl.