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17 October 2014

WA continues to improve infant and maternal mortality rates

Western Australia continues to be one of the safest places to give birth according to a report released today.

Regulatory Support and Training Unit Medical Advisor Dr Teresa Ballestas Barros said The 14th Report of the Perinatal and Infant Mortality Committee of Western Australia for deaths in the triennium 2008–2010 report showed infant mortality rates in Western Australia continued to decline, from 6.9 per 1000 in 1990 to 3.5 per 1000 in 2010.

The report looked at perinatal and infant mortality in Western Australia since 1990 and included information on birth outcomes to the age of 12 months and maternal mortality for recent years until the end of 2010.

"It is pleasing to see that Western Australia again performed well against other Australian states, with the lowest neonatal and infant mortality rates in the nation, and the third lowest perinatal mortality rate," Dr Ballestas Barros said.

She also welcomed continued improvement in outcomes for babies of Aboriginal women, with an overall decline in the infant mortality rate and a significant decline in the post-neonatal mortality rates to 4.7 per 1000 in 2010—down from 11.8 per 1000 in 1990.

Dr Ballestas Barros said another key finding of the report was that the overall standard of health care in WA was high, with less than four per cent of investigated stillbirths and 7.3 per cent of investigated neonatal deaths considered to be medically preventable. None of the post neonatal deaths were considered medically preventable.

Dr Ballestas Barros said the report provided valuable information that would help to ensure Western Australia continued to be a leader in maternal and infant health.

The publication is available on the WA Health website at: health.wa.gov.au/publications

Media contact: (08) 9222 4333

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