DURING the first semester of thisyear the country’s infant mortality ratedropped to 9.29 deaths for every 1,000births – its lowest level in 20 years. Theinfant mortality rate for the first semesterof 2003 was 10.15 deaths for each 1,000births, according to the National Statisticsand Census Institute (INEC).Between January and June, 34,656births were reported in Costa Rica.Among those babies, 332 died beforetheir first birthday. During the first sixmonths of this year, there were 319 fewerbirths and 33 fewer infant deaths than thesame period in 2003.The northwestern province ofGuanacaste had the highest infantmortality rate: 14.88 deaths for every1,000 births. The eastern CentralValley province of Cartago had thelowest rate: 8.27 deaths for every 1,000births.
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