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Oklahoma Infant Mortality Rate Declined In 2012

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Oklahoma's infant mortality rate is declining but remains above the national rate.

The Oklahoma State Department of Health said Tuesday that the state's infant mortality rate has declined from 8.6 per 1,000 live births in 2007 to 7.9 per 1,000 live births in 2012.

But the state's infant mortality rate remains above the national rate of 6.15 per 1,000 live births recorded in 2010. Suzanna Dooley, director of the agency's Maternal and Child Health Service, says about 90 fewer Oklahoma babies would die each year if the state matched the national rate.

Dr. Terry Cline, Oklahoma's health commissioner, says the decline in Oklahoma'sinfant mortality rate is good news.

“We are encouraged by the progress of the many efforts and programs undertaken by our public and private health partners to help reduce infant mortality in Oklahoma,” Cline said in a news release. “Many have chosen to participate in the statewide initiative called Preparing for a Lifetime, It’s Everyone’s Responsibility, which applies a multifaceted approach to the problem of infant mortality.  Even though this improvement in IMR is reassuring, our rates are still too high and we have too many babies who do not live to see their first birthday."

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