Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Reporting Child Mortality

CNN reports that the USA doesn't give out enough free health care, so we have higher infant mortality than our socialist neighbors across the pond in Europe and Japan. What they do not report is this:
Comparing statistics for IMR across countries can be a useful indicator of their level of health and development, but the method for calculating IMR often varies widely between countries based on the way they define a live birth. The World Health Organization defines a live birth as any born human being who demonstrates independent signs of life, including breathing, muscle movement, or heartbeat.
Which is how, IIRC, the USA reports live births. Then there's this
Many countries, however, including certain European states and Japan, only count as live births cases where an infant breathes at birth, which makes their reported IMR numbers somewhat lower and raises their rates of perinatal mortality.
So given the information in the CNN report, we have no way to account for the differences in reporting infant mortality, only an implicit call for "universal healthcare" or other such bunk. This statistic has been pulled on me many times when arguing about quality of life here and in the more lefty places. In the report above they say that it's the governments fault also, since black people have much higher rates of infant mortality than the USA as a whole. Hence, since the government doesn't provide all sorts of "free" social services, it's everyone's fault but the mother's yada yada.


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