Although dramatic gains have been realized in lowering the incidence of neonatal deaths among native American infants to a level lower than the white race, postneonatal death rates for this population remain twice as high as in the white race. The limited data available reveal that excessive postneonatal deaths among native American infants largely result from preventable accidents and treatable acute medical conditions, such as pneumonia and gastroenteritis. This suggests that native American infants leave the hospital healthy but go to unsafe environments, which decrease their chances of survival past 1 year. In particular, the poorer socioeconomic conditions that native American families experience and the related problems of alcoholism, unemployment, and family disorganization contribute to the high rate of postneonatal mortality. Intervention programs to lower native American postneonatal mortality should focus on promoting prompt recognition of and health seeking for treatable medical conditions and prevention of accidents and other postneonatal health problems. The roots of the problem of native American postneonatal mortality lie in the socioeconomic conditions of many Indian communities and cannot be addressed without recognition of how these factors combine with the health care delivery system to diminish life expectancy for native American infants.

This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.