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Arch Hellen Med, 22(5), September-October 2005, 459-466


Trends and causes of perinatal, neonatal and infant mortality

1st Department of Neonatology and NICU, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, "Hippokration" Hospital, Thessaloniki, Greece

Developments in the treatment of infections have resulted in a progressive decrease in infant mortality. In 2001 infant mortality was less than 6. in the member-countries of the European Union and 6.8‰ in USA, although in the developing countries it was still high (up to 64‰). In Greece during the past 60 years the infant mortality decreased by 94%, from 122‰ in 1937 down to 7.3‰ in 1996. During the same period, the postneonatal and neonatal mortality decreased by 98% and 86%, respectively. The perinatal mortality in Greece decreased from 24‰ in 1983 to about 10‰ in 1998. Most of the perinatal deaths are caused by complications of pregnancy and delivery, which, in addition, make a significant contribution to the late neonatal and postneonatal deaths in the developed countries, whereas in the developing countries infections and nutritional deficiencies are the main causes of the postnatal deaths. Based on these data, priority interventions include further improvements in the care given to pregnant women and newborn infants, while for the developing countries the prevention and treatment of infections and nutritional support for the mother and the infant are additional targets.

Key words: Developed countries, Developing countries, European Union, Infancy, Pregnancy.

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