Poverty Drives The Tragic Infant Death Rate In Tennessee

The U.S. has the highest infant mortality rate of the world's 23 richest nations, and within the country, black babies die at three times the rate of white babies. On Friday, the 20/20 report "Babyland" focused on Memphis, the city with the highest infant death rate. Dr. Sheldon Korones, seen in the clip above, was spurred by the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. to found a neo-natal unit in Memphis's inner city. He describes the city's high rate of premature births and infant deaths as the result of years of social inadequacies. "There is so much else in that picture, ranging all the way from the proper lifestyle and diet, to the proper education and life itself," he says. "In this community, when a premature baby is born, society has failed."Tennessee's High Infant Death Rate [ABC]



There are so many reasons that women can't get prenatal care (no way to get to a Dr, can't afford it, can't afford to take the time off work, don't know its important, etc) that it's nearly impossible to figure out how to fix the problem. While this may be worse in TN, it happens all over the country...rural, urban, poor, middle-class.

Until a greater priority is placed on health care and health education, this isn't going to change.