Child death rate a cause for concern in Redbridge

MORE babies – both unborn and under the age of one – are dying in Redbridge than in many other parts of London.

The primary care trust’s annual public health report, which takes an in-depth look at the health of the borough’s population, shows stillbirths are the highest in London, and rising.

For every 1,000 births in the borough, 7.5 were stillbirths, compared to six per 1,000 across London and five per 1,000 in England.

And the figures, which go up to 2008 – the latest data available – show women living in deprived parts of the borough are two-and-a-half times more likely to suffer a stillbirth.

Infant mortality in Redbridge – babies who die before their first birthday – is also higher than the London and England averages.

While the rate has fallen in the past 10 years, it has stayed consistent since 2003, and the latest data, for 2008, shows 5.3 in every 1,000 children under one die in Redbridge.

That puts the borough 10th highest of the 33 London boroughs for infant mortality.

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Gladys Xavier, deputy director of public health, said: “We’re already looking at this and examining the reasons why, in deprived areas like Loxford, infant mortality is higher.

“We are already aware of some of the issues, like high consanguinity marriage [marriages between blood relatives].”

Health bosses are aiming to raise awareness of the risks attached to children from blood relatives.

The report shows NHS Redbridge has been successful in bringing down smoking rates, with 70 per cent of residents who sought help to quit, stubbing out their cigarettes for good in 2009/10 – the highest quit rate in London.

Life expectancy is also on the up and higher than the national average. Boys born today can expect to live to 79, while girls can expect to live to 83.

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