Kansas making progress on its infant-mortality problem

In a week full of awful news, one story stood out as hopeful – the report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that the infant-mortality rate dropped 10.5 percent nationally and 15.6 percent in Kansas between 2005 and 2011. The state has done good work in recent years trying to address its comparatively high rate of infant deaths, including by convening a Kansas Blue Ribbon Panel on Infant Mortality. Together with the March of Dimes and other private efforts, state leaders need to keep up the study of infant deaths and be aggressive in targeting medical factors such as congenital abnormalities, preterm births and sudden infant death syndrome. For example, Kansas Health and Environment Secretary Robert Moser recently announced an initiative to cut the premature birthrate from 11.2 to 10.3 percent by the end of 2014.