#BlackWomen'sDeathAtChildbirth; #BlackWomen; #US; #NewYork; #RacialDisparity
New York, Dec 15 (Canadian-Media): The death of Black mothers from childbirth in the United States are three times more than white mothers, according to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the leading national public health institute of the United States, media reports said.
Racism. Image credit: Pixaby
US is the only developed country in the world in which the rate of maternal mortality is on the rise.
According to the latest CDC report, some 700 women in the US die every year from such complications and that 3 of every 5 deaths are avoidable.
New York City's racial disparity is even more stark: black women are 8 times more likely to die.
For a long time, experts claimed that high rates of diabetes and obesity within the black community and also their poverty brought them at risk due to a lack of education or health care coverage. Yet those theories have become valueless as Black mothers are still more at risk than white women even if they are well educated and are well-off.
Dr. Deborah Kaplan, the assistant commissioner at the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene told FRANCE 24 that the problem was rooted in discrimination.
“Racism was baked into the DNA of this country...affects people who are going to give birth and are complaining of pain or who may have a complication that is not taken seriously because simply of the colour of their skin.”
33 percent of black women had been discriminated against in hospital or by healthcare workers, according to a survey conducted in 2017 by NPR.
Even tennis star Serena Williams says she fell victim to this sort of discrimination. In September 2017, Williams almost died from a pulmonary embolism after giving birth to her daughter via C-section. At first the medical staff did not believe her, but then a CT scan proved her right and she was put on an anticoagulant heparin drip which saved her life.
Dr. Kaplan is trying to help fix New York City's problem. Last year an initiative launched by Mayor Bill de Blasio to try and decrease maternal death rates among black women with a 12.8 million dollar budget to invest in underfunded hospitals and trying to educate medical staff about racial prejudices and to provide pre- and post-natal support to black women.
Chanel Porchia, who has six children of her own, is a member of the Black Mamas Matter Alliance and has founded an association called Ancient Song Doula. “I’ve been where child protective services has been used as a tool to get people to comply with medical interventions that weren’t necessarily necessary at that moment," Porchia said. "Or I’ve seen partners who, because they’ve voiced their concerns, have had the police called on them and have been escorted out of the hospital."
So those are things that occur on a regular basis and that’s all over the United States.”
“Black women shouldn’t have to develop elaborate birth plans or personally shell out thousands of dollars for extra eyes and ears at the hospital to ensure they survive the experience of childbirth. We’ve done enough observing and debating the effects of bias and racism in our health care system. It’s time to demand better outcomes,” Elizabeth Warren, says on her 2020 presidential campaign website which aims to address the maternal mortality epidemic.