Experts note that the true measuring stick of a nation is the way it cares for its children, their health and protection, material security, education and socialization. The infant mortality rate is an indicator of these advances and of the fundamental human right to healthcare.

The worldwide infant mortality rate is 52 per 1,000 live births. In Latin America the figure averages 26 while in West Africa the rate is 108, according to statistics from the 2007 UNICEF State of the World’s Children report.

The industrialized countries have a combined rate of 5. The United States recorded 6 —double the figure registered by the countries with the lowest rates (Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Japan)— with gross inequalities along ethnic lines. For example, non-Hispanic blacks have an infant mortality rate of 13, considerably higher than any other ethnic or racial group. In Cuba there are no such differences.

According to preliminary infant mortality data presented by officials at the Cuban Mother Child Program and the statistics office of the Ministry of Public Health, six provinces were under the national average: Holguin and Havana City (5.0), Las Tunas and Matanzas (4.4), Camaguey (4.2), and Sancti Spiritus (4.1).

Of the country’s 169 municipalities, 21 recorded a zero infant mortality rate during 2007: Candelaria, Minas de Matahambre, Melena del Sur, Nueva Paz, Bauta, Pedro Betancourt, Union de Reyes, Ciénaga de Zapata, Calimete, Cifuentes, Yaguajay, Taguasco, Florencia, Najasa, Manatí, Colombia, Antilla, Cauto Cristo, Salvador, Imias and Manuel Tames.

During the year there were 112,425 births registered in Cuba —1,102 more than in 2006—, of which 592 died, mainly due to perinatal conditions, congenital anomalies and infections.

While the use of ultrasound and alpha-fetoprotein testing takes place throughout Cuba, it isn’t possible to detect all of the cases of congenital deformations. Internationally, such tests are considered 80 percent accurate.


The pre-revolution infant mortality rate in Cuba was 60 per 1,000 live births. With the deplorable sanitary conditions inherited by the revolution, in 1962 alone, 3.000 children under one year died due to diarrhea induced complications. At the time the infant mortality rate was 42.

A look at the last five decades shows how the revolutionary government prioritized care for mothers and children despite the criminal US blockade and economic war against Cuba.

Today, a half million women die each year around the globe during pregnancy, delivery and post-delivery —one every minute or 400 per 100,000 births. In Latin America that figure is 190 and only 21 in Cuba and due to hemorrhaging, embolism of the amniotic liquid (when spreading to the bloodstream) and clotting.

The low infant and maternal mortality rates came out of a colossal education effort that began with the national literacy campaign, establishing a healthcare system free and accessible to the entire population, the massive vaccination campaigns, and other advances which made possible the accomplishments of the country’s revolution in health.

Another important factor has been the development of family planning programs based on the reproductive right of women to freely choose the number of children they wish to have. Prenatal care includes 17 check ups and in Cuba 99.9 percent of the births take place in maternity hospitals, the only exceptions being those births that take place on route to the hospital.

After being diagnosed as pregnant in the early weeks of pregnancy, eight lab tests are carried out during the first doctor’s visit including those for syphilis and HIV/AIDS which are also done on the partner.

Cuban Agency News
La Agencia Cubana de Noticias (ACN) es una división de la Agencia de Información Nacional (AIN) de Cuba fundada el 21 de mayo de 1974.

Cuban News Agency