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Cabinet to tackle high baby death rate

Tuesday 06 May 2008

Health minister Ab Klink is working on plans to try to tackle the death rate for new born babies in the Netherlands, which some say is high among western European countries, the NRC reports on Tuesday.

‘Of every 1,000 babies, 13.4 die during the pregnancy or in the first month after birth,’ the paper says, quoting health council figures.

Klink is setting up a special committee which will be charged with reducing the baby death rate, the NRC says. In the meantime, he wants to involve social and healthcare groups in improving help to parents. The plans are contained in a concept letter which is circulating in medical circles.

Klink stressed that the Dutch tradition of encouraging home births was not at issue. ‘Far too many women, gynaecologists and researchers think it is a good institution,’ the paper quoted Klink as saying. ‘Home births cannot be regarded as being responsible for the higher baby death rate.’

In particular, Klink thinks improving prenatal care to immigrants and low-skilled households will bring positive results, the NRC says.

© DutchNews.nl


Readers' Comments

Most births are probably uncomplicated and midwives can handle them, but the unexpected in medicine is commonplace and no one (obstetrician, midwife, etc.) can predict with complete certainty who is and who is not going to need medical care.

The Dutch generally seem to approach childbirth with the view that it has been overly "medicalized" by the MD profession - treated too much like an illness. There's probably some truth to that, but I suspect that the taboo against pain relief in labor is connected to the broader view that Dutch doctors HAVE to treat labor as something totally different from a medical condition. That's just a mistake and one that IMHO causes a hell of a lot of misery for women.

By lola granola | 6 May 2008 6:40 PM

From my experience with health care in The Netherlands, I have to agree with Ab Klink. Home birthing is not the problem. Hospitals and doctors are the problem. Holland should look into getting some real doctors and equipping and staffing real hospitals. People die here from things that people have not been fatal diseases in the US for over 20 years.

By Tim Lee | 7 May 2008 7:37 AM

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