Fastest-growing population also the fastest to die
A disturbing new study coming out of the Journal of Rural Health shows that the infant mortality rate in Manitoba is twice the Canadian average. Led by University of Montreal researcher Zhong-Cheng Luo, the study looked at 25,000 Aboriginal births and 125,000 non-Aboriginal births. According to the study’s abstract, researchers divided the births into four different degrees of isolation from urban centres. In the most isolated groups, infant mortality was almost 11 per 1,000 live births for Aboriginal people, while it was a little more than seven for non-Aboriginal births. The non-Aboriginal group fared better closer to urban centres, with an infant mortality rate of less than five per 1,000, while the rate for Aboriginal women still hovered around 10.
The study concludes:
Living in less isolated areas was associated with lower infant mortality only among non-First Nations. First Nations infants do not seem to have similarly benefited from the better health care facilities in urban centers, suggesting a need to improve urban First Nations’ infant care in meeting the challenges of increasing urban migration.
Dr. Luo told the Canadian Press “The general conclusion is the same: we need to improve the access to quality prenatal care for First Nations.”
Haunting stats, given that federal officials tout Canada’s First Nations as an integral part of this country’s future because we’re it’s fastest growing demographic. That won’t mean much if our children can’t even survive infancy.