Monday, July 9, 2012

The Worrying Kosovo Infant Mortality Rate

International and Kosovo health officials are concerned about the rate of infant mortality in Kosovo despite it dropping over the past 10 years.  The rate is still higher than it should be with 17.1 deaths in 1000 births.

The lack of a true proper healthcare system and other factors such as poverty and education all contribute to the higher infant mortality rate in Kosovo.  

We recently witnessed how frustrating dealing with the public hospital in Pristina can be when a friend of ours gave birth to a baby boy with a serious congenial heart defect that should have been detected by the gynecologist during pregnancy, a mistake that has infuriated the neonatologist at the Pristina Hospital.  Because of the failure of the prenatal doctor identifying the heart defect, we have been struggling for two weeks to find a charity to assist sending the baby to another country and pay for the 150,000 Euro operation that will help to save the little boy's life as the medical treatment cannot be found in Kosovo.  Luckily an Italian charity has come through and our friend's baby had surgery this morning in Tirana, Albania where an Italian doctor traveled to perform the operation.

Update - 12 July 2012 - I am saddened to report that despite receiving the much needed surgery in Tirana, our friend's baby passed away in the early hours of the morning.  It is extremely frustrating to think that had the prenatal doctor identified the heart defect as it should have been and the medical care he needed been available in Kosovo he may still be with us today.  It took more than two weeks to be able to get the baby into the desperately needed surgery because of funding and travel considerations and I can't help but keep thinking that it was two weeks too long.