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Last Updated: Wednesday, 6 December 2006, 15:41 GMT
Infant deaths 'linked to poverty'
Newborn child
The Bradford infant mortality rate is above the national average
Poverty has been named as the single biggest contributor to the high number of infant deaths in Bradford.

A two-year inquiry found that between 60 and 70 infants a year died before the age of one, 20 babies more than the national infant mortality average.

The study, by the Bradford District Infant Mortality Commission, found an ethnic dimension was also involved.

But it emphasised that 99% of the 8,000 babies born in the area each year lived beyond their first year.

Health professionals will monitor the figures.

Last year, the report said, 65 deaths were recorded - twice the national average, but only 1% of the local total.

The report, commissioned by the Bradford District Infant Mortality Commission, said poverty was the principal cause of the higher than average number of infant deaths among Bradford's Pakistani families.

While poverty was also mostly blamed for causing the deaths of babies belonging to white families, it said other issues also came into play, such as premature births, teenage motherhood, smoking, alcohol and drug abuse.

'Broad approach'

The commission is chaired by a lawyer and is made up of bereaved mothers, politicians, members of voluntary organisations, as well as health and other public service professionals.

It gathered evidence, commissioned an extensive analysis of local data and sifted through reams of information during the investigation.

Consultant obstetrician Derek Tuffnell said family incomes, housing and use of services all played a major part in the high infant mortality rate.

He said it was difficult to separate individual factors, and they had to look at a broad approach in future to problems of poverty and deprivation.


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