Adam Searing – no hater of people – has cloned another bit of wisdom from the MSM and leftosphere — that of infant mortality statistics. The idea is that because the UK (or whatever country) has a reported infant mortality rate nationally of around 5 per 1000, and N.C. has a rate of about 8 per 1000, we should be calling up Fidel Castro and asking him to come run our healthcare system since he’s retired from service in Cuba.
But the 3 baby per 1000 can be chalked up pretty easily to the way different countries record the statistics — i.e. what constitutes a live birth, a death, and when it’s recorded. (I’d also be willing to bet that the US – with our quasi-market/gubment controlled/Medicaid crazy-quilt system uses far more heroic measures to save premies and records failures of such measures accordingly.)
Anyway, this article says it best:
However, there’s a basic problem with the numbers: Different countries count differently. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) definition, all babies showing any signs of life – such as muscle activity, a gasp for breath or a heartbeat – should be counted as a live birth. The U.S. strictly follows this definition. But many other countries do not.
Switzerland doesn’t count the death of very small babies, less than 30 centimeters (11.8 inches) in length, as a live birth, according to Nicholas Eberstadt, a former visiting fellow at Harvard’s Center for Population and Developmental Studies. So comparing the 1998 infant mortality rates for Switzerland and the U.S. (4.8 and 7.2,respectively, per 1,000 live births) is comparing apples and oranges.
In other countries, such as Italy, definitions vary depending on where you are in the country. Eberstadt notes "underreporting also seems apparent in the proportion of infant deaths different countries report for the first 24 hours after birth. In Australia, Canada and the United States, over one-third of all infant deaths are reported to take place in the first day."
In contrast, "Less than one-sixth of France’s infant deaths are reported to occur in the first day of life. In Hong Kong, such deaths account for only one-twenty-fifth of all infant deaths." As UNICEF has noted, "Under the Soviet-era definition … infants who are born at less than 28 weeks, weighing less than 1,000 grams [35.3 ounces] or measuring less than 35 centimeters [13.8 inches] are not counted as live births if they die within seven days. This Soviet definition still predominates in many [formerly Soviet] countries. … The communist system stressed the need to keep infant mortality low, and hospitals and medical staff faced penalties if they reported increases. As a result, they sometimes reported the deaths of babies in their care as miscarriages or stillbirths."
Better luck next time, though. We’re keeping an eye on you–ready with the f(lie) swatter.
(Update: Glen Whitman’s killer critique of the WHO and progressive-style ratings is not to be missed. He tears apart the case for Cuba-care pretty thoroughly, too.)