NOCA calls for a centralised national database of child mortality in Ireland
The National Paediatric Mortality Register 2023 Report was launched on the 26th October 2023.
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Professor Michael Barrett, Chair of the National Paediatric Mortality Register (NPMR) Governance Committee launched the National Paediatric Mortality Register 2023 Report at a virtual meeting on the 26th October 2023. The key message at the launch centered around the need for a centralised database for the accurate analysis and timely reporting of data related to child deaths. The NPMR relies on extracting data from multiple sources, which has led to significant gaps in crucial information.
The report includes data from 892 children under 19 years of age whose deaths were registered between 2019 and 2021 in the Republic of Ireland. However, this is not the full picture and there is currently very little accurate data available on the circumstances and reasons for mortality in children, particularly after the age of five years; on how many children die in any one year, where they die and from what causes. Many child deaths are preventable, making it imperative to identify the factors contributing to these deaths to enable effective interventions.
Ireland must urgently implement a centralised child mortality database to better understand and address the factors contributing to child deaths. Accurate data on child deaths in Ireland is a beacon of hope for families, a testament to the lives lost, and a roadmap to a safer future. While many deaths may be preventable, understanding the complex landscape of child mortality, including trauma, congenital disorders and cancers, allows us to strive for better care and support for those who need it most.
Professor Michael Barrett, Chair of the NPMR Governance Committee
The overall infant mortality rate from 2019-2021 was 3.1 per 1000 livebirths, which is close to the European Union (EU) average of 3.4 per 1000 livebirths.
46% of deaths occurred during the neonatal period (aged ≤28 days).
The greatest decline in infant mortality has occurred among infants in the post-neonatal age group (aged 29 days to 1 year), due largely to a reduction in the number of deaths from sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
Mortality rates in children aged 1–14 years and young people aged 15–18 years have declined by 50% since 2007.
Post-infancy, the leading cause of childhood death is accident and injury, accounting for one in five deaths in children aged 1–14 years, and one in two deaths in young people aged 15–18 years.
24% of injury-related deaths in children aged 1-14 years were due to road traffic collisions.
The event saw two NPMR Patient and Public Interest Representatives kindly share their own stories of child loss. Mary Vasseghi and Kate Burke reminded the audience that there are children behind every statistic.
It's hard to comprehend in this day and age, just how poor the data is on paediatric mortality. I have always believed in the premise that 'When you know better, do better ' but how can we do better if we are missing whole tracts of vital data needed in order to continuously develop the well informed health care system and interventions our children and future generations deserve. Not acting on this report is simply not an option. I can't bring my child back but if his medical information can play a part in improving the outcomes for other children and their families, it will be its own kind of comfort
Kate Burke, Patient and Public Interest Representative, NPMR Governance Committee
Click on the presentation title below to view speaker powerpoint presentation slides.
Speaker Presentation Title Cliona McGarvey, Paediatric Programme Manager, NOCA Background and development of NPMR & Key Findings from the NPMR 2023 Report Dr Martina Healy, Clinical Lead, NPMR Key Recommendations from the NPMR 2023 Report Professor Michael Barrett, Chair, NPMR Governance Committee International Approaches to Child Mortality Databases Professor Karen Luyt, Programme Lead, National Child Mortality Database, England Learning from International Experience
[ National Report]( https://s3-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/noca-uploads/general/National%5FPaediatric%5FMortality%5FRegister%5F2023%5FReport%5FFINAL.pdf
[ Summary Report]( https://s3-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/noca-uploads/general/National%5FPaediatric%5FMortality%5FRegister%5F2023%5FSummary%5FReport%5FFINAL.pdf
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