Victorian mothers, babies and children are now healthier and safer, with a new report showing a significant improvement in their health.
The Victoria’s Mothers, Babies and Children report by the Consultative Council on Obstetric and Paediatric Mortality and Morbidity, shows that Victoria is closing the gap on the rate of stillbirths and early infant deaths for children of Aboriginal women, with results almost the same as non-Aboriginal mothers.
The perinatal mortality rate for Aboriginal babies significantly fell from 13.6 per 1,000 births in 2013–2015 to 9.1 in 2014–2016, compared to 9 per 1,000 for non-Aboriginal women.
The proportion of babies of Aboriginal mothers having a low birthweight also fell – from 11.5 per cent in 2015, to 9.8 per cent in 2016.
The report also showed that in 2016, 79,319 women gave birth to 80,549 babies – a two per cent increase.
The overall perinatal mortality rate also continues to fall and is at its lowest rate in 16 years.
Maternal deaths continue to be rare in Victoria, with the maternal mortality rate 8.9 per 100,000 women who gave birth.
The Andrews Labor Government accepts in-principle all nine recommendations from the report and work is already underway to improve identification of women at risk from depression and anxiety, the information given to pregnant women, and access to specialist medical care for vulnerable children.
Earlier this year, the Labor Government unveiled Korin Korin Balit-Djak, an ambitious new plan to revolutionise Victoria’s health and human services’ work with Aboriginal communities, backed by a $7.1 million funding boost.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Health Jill Hennessy
“Every mother and baby deserves access to the highest quality and safe health services.”
“Perinatal mortality is at its lowest rate in 16 years but we’ll continue to work to make care even safer for all Victorian mothers and babies.”
Quote attributable to Minister for Families and Children Jenny Mikakos
“Our work with Aboriginal mums and bubs – like our Aboriginal Maternal and Child Health Initiative – is showing real benefits. These services are ensuring care and treatments are culturally safe and responsive to their needs.”
Quote attributable to Acting Minister for Aboriginal Affairs Luke Donnellan
"We are putting Aboriginal Victorians first when it comes to their health and wellbeing. This goes to the heart of self-determination which plays a big role in achieving the excellent results we see today.
Reviewed 19 August 2020