The “Freedom Flotilla” to Gaza, organized and financed by Turkey, purports to address the poor health conditions in Gaza.

One critical measure of public health is infant mortality (children who die before reaching 1 year of age), because it reflects a wide range of underlying heath measures, such as sanitation, pediatric medical services, and hospital availability.

The Kaiser Family Foundation has tabulated and put in an interactive map (below) the 2009 infant mortality rates for various countries based on data from the 2010 CIA World Factbook.

Although not on the map, in the notes to its table Kaiser lists the West Bank’s infant mortality rate at 15.96 deaths per 1,000 live births, and Gaza’s infant mortality rate is 18.35 deaths per 1,000 live births.

Gaza’s infant mortality rate is much better than most of the countries in the region, and far better than Turkey (25.78) and Iran (35.78). Israel’s rate (4.22) is better than the U.S. (6.26) and in line with most European rates.

Below are some examples listed by world rank (higher is better) and rate of countries in the region:

67 – Morocco -36.88
68 – Iran (Islamic Republic of) – 35.78
79 – Egypt – 27.26
82 – Syrian Arab Republic – 25.87
83 – Turkey – 25.78
97 – Lebanon – 21.82
100 – Libyan Arab Jamahiriya – 21.05
n/a – Gaza – 18.35
123 – Jordan – 14.97

This does not prove that there are no health problems in Gaza. But is does prove that on a key measure of public health, Gaza is better off than most surrounding Arab and Muslim countries.

Perhaps we need a “Save the Babies of Turkey” flotilla.

Infant Mortality Rate (Total Deaths per 1,000 Live Births)
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