From the beginning, our goal was to create a responsive, efficient health care network, with improved preventive and primary care reaching out to people in their communities throughout the City. It's a work in progress, but that's exactly the direction we've been moving over the last five years - and the result is a healthier City.
Last month, I announced that the City's Infant Mortality Rate reached an all-time low in 1997, falling below the previous record low we set in 1996. Our infant mortality rate has now decreased 30.4 percent since 1993. There's no single reason for this historic decline - improved access to prenatal care, declining incidence of cocaine and other substance abuse by pregnant women, declining incidence of sexually transmitted diseases during pregnancy, and advances in medicine that improve the chances for survival of the most at-risk babies have all played a role - but we know that it would never have been possible without the hard work and innovation of healthcare professionals inside and outside government in all five boroughs.
We're bringing the same sense of focus to other citywide healthcare problems. In July, I announced the creation of The New York City Childhood Asthma Initiative, a major new public education campaign that is helping to spread information about prevention and treatment of this serious health condition. Our message is simple: when properly managed, children and adults suffering from asthma can lead active and healthy lives. If you know someone with asthma and need advice, call the toll-free Asthma Action Line at 1-877-ASTHMA-0.
And just this Thursday, I announced that New York City's proactive strategy for controlling tuberculosis has been recognized for its effectiveness and creativity as a finalist for the national Innovations in American Government Award. Since 1992, new tuberculosis cases have decreased by 55 percent, and cases of a particularly dangerous form of TB which is more difficult to treat have decreased by 87 percent. We've established our City as a national leader in the fight against TB by making sure that every single TB patient is treated until they are cured of the disease.
These are just a few specific examples. There are also fewer cases of lead poisoning among our children, fewer teenage pregnancies, and more children immunized against disease; general care hospital bed use is down and primary care visits are up. All in all, we're using our resources more efficiently and treating New Yorkers more effectively. And in every instance, the vigilance and innovative policies of healthcare leaders throughout the City have led the way.
The whole City has reason to be proud of their accomplishments in building a healthier New York for years to come. From Gracie Mansion, this is Mayor Rudy Giuliani.