Friday, January 05, 2007

Dead Babies

Say what you will about the abattoir in Iraq: at least the regular folks are still trying to procreate. Trying and, increasingly, failing. From the Washington Post:

The combination of road closures, physician kidnapping, and the stress of war and poverty are taking a signifant toll on maternal-child health in Iraq and the problem is exacerbated by the mass exodus of Iraqi physicians (some estimates say up to 50% have fled since the U.S. invasion).

Understandably, women are frequently less willing to take the risk of traveling during curfew hours to hospitals that may or may not have doctors avalable to help them deliver their babies. More women are turning to midwives to avoid hospitals altogether. Still others are scheduling elective c-sections around curfew hours.

The infant mortality rate in Iraq now stands at 48.6 per 1,000 live births -- in other words, 5% of all babies delivered die or are dead on delivery. As a point of comparison, the U.S. rate is 6.9 per 1,000 live births -- one of the industrialized world's worst rates.

If you can stomach it, try to read the whole article, which is framed around the story of one Iraqi woman's attempt to give birth. There's no happy ending.

Three years ago, I woulda shrugged at this and gone hunting for more IED videos on YouTube. Today, I think it's just about the saddest, worst thing I've yet learned about the war in Iraq. All those babies dying for no reason...

(Via the indispensable Strollerderby.)