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Inequalities in Infant Mortality work programme

Principal investigator
Ron Gray (NPEU (Former member))
Peter Brocklehurst (NPEU), Jenny Kurinczuk (NPEU)
Socioeconomic and ethnic inequalities, Stillbirth and infant death
Start year
End year
NPEU Contact
Jenny Kurinczuk


This programme was undertaken to help strengthen the evidence base for interventions which reduce infant mortality and narrow the health inequalities gap.

The project generated a searchable 'evidence map' which provides a comprehensive descriptive overview of the systematic review literature relating to the effectiveness of interventions targeting:

  • Infant mortality and its major medical causes (preterm birth, major congenital anomalies and SIDS/SUDI)
  • Major potentially modifiable risk factors for infant mortality (smoking in pregnancy and the postnatal period, maternal obesity and risk factors for SIDS/SUDI)

Three systematic reviews were conducted. Two of these were reviews of effectiveness designed to evaluate the evidence relating to:

  • Interventions focused on the organisation and delivery of antenatal care as a means of reducing infant mortality or one of its major causes (particularly preterm birth) in socially disadvantaged and vulnerable groups of women;
  • Interventions to increase the early uptake of antenatal care in socially disadvantaged and vulnerable groups of women.

A third mixed methods review synthesised the qualitative literature relating the views and experiences of Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) women in the UK to identify and describe the barriers to and facilitators of early initiation of antenatal care in BME women in the UK; the review also explored ways in which existing interventions may address these barriers.

A series of briefing papers was also produced providing a statistical overview of infant mortality trends, ethnic variations in infant mortality and a review of the contribution of congenital anomalies to infant mortality.


Journal Articles