COSTA RICA NEWS – Costa Rica slashed its infant mortality rate to a 10-year low during the past 12 months. The rate dropped from 9.08 per 1000 births last year to 8.17 this year. The figures are kept on the deaths of babies during their first year.

Earlier this year, a storm erupted at National Children’s Hospital when a 57-year-old surgeon twice interrupted heart surgery on a 26 day old baby, finally leaving the operating room for non-specialist physicians to finish up the procedure — in order to perform surgery at a private clinic.

This marked the low point of the reputation of national medical care of children. Criticism was even directed at the National Children’s Hospital, previously a prestigious facility, and the hospital was accused of having a poor record of heart surgeries.

This is a shot in the arm for the national medical community, not just for the Children’s Hospital, but for post partum care at all Social Security (Caja) unversal health care facilities, as well as for prenatal care. Recently, for example, a child born with a dangerous tumor was operated on immediately after birth and is doing well.

Maria Eugenia Villalta, the Caja’s medical manager, told La Nacion that the recent success was due to the institution’s dedication to paying special attention to high risk pregnancies. The institution has made special efforts in cleanliness, vaccinations, and promotion of nursing children instead of bottle feeding.

In the first six months of this year, there were 34,353 births and only 271 infant deaths. In 2013, there were 70,550 births with 612 deaths. In 75% of infant mortality here, the babies are younger than 28 days old.

Article  by, reposted with permission

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