Cuba closed 2018 with an infant mortality rate of 4.0 per thousand live births, the lowest in its history for the second consecutive year, according to the Cuban Ministry of Health (MINSAP).
In the year recently concluded, 3.963 per thousand live births died, representing a decrease of 0.081 compared to 2017, when the rate was 4.044, according to data from the medical records and statistics reported by the daily Granma.
Regarding births, there were 116,320 in 2018, 1,349 more than in 2017, while there were 461 deaths in children under one year, four fewer than the previous year.
The Cuban provinces with the lowest reported rates were the Isla de la Juventud special municipality, with 2.1, and the provinces Camagüey (2.6), Cienfuegos (2.7), Granma (2.8) and Sancti Spíritus (2.9).
However, the report indicates that the aim was not met in the provinces of Guantánamo (7.3), Mayabeque (6.3), Havana (4.9), Ciego de Ávila (4.4) and Matanzas (4.1).
MINSAP’s head of the mother-child department, Roberto Alvarez, explained that “the achievements and improvements” of this health indicator were due to the actions to improve the program of the family doctor and nurse and the development achieved by the community medical genetics.
He added that the program of diagnosis, management and prevention of congenital defects and genetic diseases has made it possible to maintain for six consecutive years the rate of infant mortality due to congenital defects below one per thousand live births, which in 2018 was 0.8.
The specialist said that since the beginning of 2018 MINSAP has promoted a plan of measures in order to maintain and improve this indicator, among them improving the management systems and control of the program in the provinces with the greatest problems, a plan of professional improvement, research, health promotion, and specific actions to reduce infant mortality.
Other indicators of the recently concluded year reveal that the mortality rate of children under 5 years of age decreased from 5.5 in 2017 to 5.3 in 2018, while the mortality rate at school age remains at below 3.0 since 2002.
In the case of births – in which Cuba has been exhibiting a very low global fertility rate in the last 30 years and a marked tendency to population aging – they increased by 1,349 in relation to 2017.