The increase in child mortality in Portugal last year should be analyzed by a working group to be created immediately by the Directorate-General for Health (DGS), defended the Order of Doctors.
In a statement, the body led by president Carlos Cortes considered it “fundamental to determine the causes” for the increase in infant mortality shown in data from the National Institute of Statistics (INE), which revealed that 217 children died up to one year old, showing a rise compared to the pre-pandemic period.
“The increase in infant mortality is a complex problem that requires a multidisciplinary and collaborative approach”, said the president of the Ordem dos Médicos, stressing that it is “essential to involve all relevant actors in this process, including health professionals, health institutions and Guardianship to understand the causes and act on them if necessary”.
The Order of Doctors also assumed availability and commitment to collaboration with the DGS through the specialty college of Pediatrics and the college of Neonatology, with a view to detecting “effective and lasting solutions to this problem”.
According to data released on Friday by INE, the infant mortality rate increased in 2022 from 2.4 to 2.6 deaths per thousand live births, in a year in which the number of births increased by 5.1% and in which the death of 217 children under one year old represented an increase of 26 deaths compared to 2021.
Following the disclosure of these records, the DGS underlined that, although the infant mortality rate increased in 2022, the value is one of the “lowest since 1960” and annual fluctuations are expected. The DGS also assured that it will maintain the surveillance and monitoring of infant mortality.
This Saturday, the Minister of Health, Manuel Pizarro, said that Portugal is among the “best countries in the world” with “very low numbers” of infant mortality.
“Once again, Portugal stands as one of the best countries in the world in infant mortality, 2.6 is an extraordinary number, I know there is a temptation to say that 2.6 is worse than we had achieved the previous year, but it is the fourth best number ever in Portugal”, said the official, in statements on the sidelines of a visit he made this Saturday to the metro works next to Hospital Santos Silva, in Gaia.