LANSING — Sen. Erika Geiss (D-Taylor) has introduced a resolution for Michigan to recognize April 11-17, 2019, as Black Maternal Health Week.
Black Maternal Health Week is a part of the National Minority Health Month which takes place in April annually. Black mothers in the United States die at three-to-four times the rate of white mothers, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“The conversation about black maternal health is not only deeply personal to me as a proud, black mother, it’s also absolutely necessary to have if we are truly working toward accessible, equitable care for all Michiganders,” Sen. Geiss said. “This is not a one-dimensional issue. It’s about human and reproductive rights, and it has racial and economic consequences, so it’s prudent for us to pursue this matter if we are to have a thriving state.”
Inadequate access to health care and related resources for expecting mothers is a root cause of complications for mothers and their babies with fixable solutions. In 2018, the March of Dimes gave Michigan a “C” average on its efforts to reduce preterm births, and decrease disparities among various racial and economic groups.
Wayne County specifically earned an “F” grade, and premature births can increase health risks for both the baby and the mother.
“All of our investments in our educational and economic systems are meaningless if we don’t provide the foundation for these mothers to have healthy, successful pregnancies,” Sen. Geiss said. “It’s my hope that if we can raise awareness of this issue and bring attention to this particular week, we can start to effect the change we need.”
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