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.