Detroit reports lowest infant mortality rate in decades

City credits public services, programs that aim to help mothers

City of Detroit reports lowest infant mortality rate in 20 years

DETROIT – Top officials announced Wednesday a historic drop in Detroit’s infant mortality rate.

The announcement was made by Michigan Department of Health and Human Services chief medical executive, Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, and Detroit mayor Mike Duggan.

According to the new data, the rate of babies born in Detroit that do not live to see their first birthday is the lowest it has been in decades.

One big reason for the steep decline is expectant mothers often had no transportation to doctor’s appointments.

Khaldun, who was with the city of Detroit Health Department in 2017, convinced the city to spend $500,000 for serviced focused on healthy mothers, healthy babies and free rides to doctor’s appointments.

The first year, there were 723 rides utilized. The next year, 2018, there were 5,452, and in 2019, there were more than 6,200 rides.

According to Michigan Department of Health and Human Services data, Detroit’s infant mortality rate plunged from 16.7 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2018 to 11 per 1,000 live births in 2019, representing a one-third rate reduction.

“We won’t know for certain all of the factors that led to the reduction in infant mortality in 2019,” Duggan said. “But we want to make sure all Detroit moms-to-be get transportation.”

Duggan also credited Dr. Abdul El-Sayed for his vision in the original creation of Detroit’s SisterFriends program.

Related: Detroit organization connects pregnant mothers with resources, programs

Related: Pregnant? Contact SisterFriends Detroit

About the Authors:

Local 4 Defender Shawn Ley is an Emmy award-winning journalist who has been with Local 4 News for more than a decade.

Dane is a producer and media enthusiast. He previously worked freelance video production and writing jobs in Michigan, Georgia and Massachusetts. Dane graduated from the Specs Howard School of Media Arts.