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Medical Report Shows High Hospitalization Rate for Children from Poor Families

A medical research team has found that 18 percent of children born in the West Jerusalem area are hospitalized at least once during their first year of life, a rate seven times higher than in areas of the United States and England where similar studies have been made. The findings, made public today, stated that of 40,000 infants examined, 7.4 percent were born with a defect, half of them serious, affecting the brain or spinal cord. The researchers found that the serious defects were concentrated in the Arab quarters of Beit Safafa and Abu Gosh and among Jewish immigrants from Asian countries. The team found that overall hospitalization rates for infants one year of age or under was influenced by social factors. In the poor neighborhoods of Katamon and Musrara the rate was 35 percent compared with only 0.15 percent in Rehavia, a middle class section. More than 40 percent of infants whose mothers never attended school were hospitalized but only eight percent of children whose mothers had post-primary education required hospitalization.