Ohio looking hard at infant mortality

Members of an Ohio state Senate committee have been holding hearings on a genuine tragedy – the state’s high rate of infant mortality. Let’s hope they hear good ideas to reduce the toll.

In 2011, the most recent year for which statistics are available, 1,088 babies in Ohio died before their first birthdays.

That year, the infant mortality rate was 7.9 per 1,000 live births in the state. That is substantially higher than the national average of 6.1 and worse than in most other states.

Black babies are more than twice as likely as whites to perish during infancy.

A particularly distressing aspect of the numbers is that they have not changed much during the past 20 years. If anything, the rate may have ticked up a bit.

Infant mortality, like any health-related concern, is difficult to address effectively. Obviously, Ohio has not done a very good job of it.

Attempts to save more children have been made through collaborations between the health care community and government, studies, special initiatives, etc. Again, however, the efforts seem to be having little impact.

If nothing else, that should tell those trying to save babies’ lives that a new approach is needed. Devising one ought to be the state Senate panel’s priority.