A European report in which the Dutch infant death rate is described as the worst in Europe is based on figures from 2004, the Volkskrant reports on Thursday.
The report, which looks at 25 EU countries plus Norway, says that one in every 100 babies born in the Netherlands dies before, during or shortly after birth.
Similar conclusions were drawn after an earlier report, based on 2003 figures, the paper says.
A spokesman for health minister Ab Klink said much had changed since 2004. ‘In the Netherlands, late abortions are counted in the figures,’ he told the paper. In addition, ‘women have children at a later age and that is not without risk. The infant death rate under immigrants is also high.’
Dutch reluctance to carry out pre-natal tests for a number of fatal or serious birth defects may also play a role, the paper said.
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