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Maternal Health Issue Awareness
- April 14, 2023
Maternal mortality is a pressing issue that affects many women, particularly Black women in the United States. Despite being one of the wealthiest nations in the world, the United States has one of the highest maternal mortality rates, and Black women are three to four times more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes than white women. The International Black Women’s Public Policy Institute has for the past five years been an amplifying voice on this issue and has committed to joining other nonprofit and advocacy groups to find solutions to the growing crisis in the United States and abroad.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in 2019, there were approximately 658 pregnancy-related deaths in the United States, with Black women accounting for 43.5% of those deaths, despite making up only 13% of the female population. These disparities are particularly concerning as maternal mortality is largely preventable with adequate healthcare.
Several factors contribute to the high maternal mortality rates among Black women, including systemic racism, inadequate healthcare access, and poverty. Black women are more likely to experience racism and discrimination in healthcare settings, resulting in inadequate care and higher rates of maternal mortality.
Local nonprofit organizations are working tirelessly to address these disparities and provide support to Black women during pregnancy and childbirth. IBWPPI in partnership with Bridge to Africa Connection has answered the call by building and operating the only birthing center in Feyiase Village in Kumasi, Ghana with a population of 19,200 and no hospital or clinic to meet the needs of women and families. IBWPPI is planning to model this clinic in Selma Alabama where the needs of women and families are equally as high.
Another organization addressing this pressing issue is the Black Mamas Matter Alliance (BMMA), which aims to improve Black maternal health by promoting policies, research, and community-based solutions. The BMMA advocates for policies that promote equitable access to healthcare, including Medicaid expansion, reproductive justice, and maternal mental health.
In addition to nonprofit organizations, Black women themselves are speaking up and addressing this issue as advocates for change. Many are sharing their stories and experiences to raise awareness about the maternal mortality crisis and promote change. For example, Serena Williams, a world-renowned tennis player, shared her personal experience with pregnancy complications, and the need for healthcare providers to listen to Black women’s concerns.
Furthermore, the Black Maternal Health Caucus was established in 2019 by a group of Black women legislators in Congress to address the maternal health crisis in the United States. The Caucus aims to develop policies that address the root causes of maternal mortality disparities and promote equitable access to healthcare.
In conclusion, maternal mortality disparities among Black Women in the United States are a significant concern. However, local nonprofit organizations and Black women advocates are working towards change by promoting equitable access to healthcare and addressing the root causes of these disparities. It is essential to continue these efforts and work towards ensuring that all women, regardless of race and socioeconomic status, have access to adequate maternal healthcare.