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Sunday, August 13, 2017

A national health issue reported in St. Louis: an Echo

Maternal and Child Health data are among the earliest and most reliable indicators about the health of any given population of people.  Consequently, this important editorial published in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch gives cause for concern.
Echos - my re-blogs, opinions of interest, from St. Louis, Missouri:

Editorial: Why are there more maternal deaths in the U.S. than in other advanced nation?


Women in the United States are three times more likely to die during pregnancy and childbirth than women in Canada, five times more than women in the United Kingdom and six times more than women in Scandinavia. 

Maternal mortality has been in decline for years because of a concerted worldwide public health effort to address the problem. Yet the rate is increasing in America.

That’s appalling, especially considering the very high standard of medical care available in this country. Prospects are grim for improving health outcomes for pregnant women and those in childbirth because of the Trump administration’s $213 million in cuts for teen pregnancy programs, combined with efforts to defund Planned Parenthood, where more low-income women receive contraceptive and prenatal care than abortions.

Much of the problem is that the United States lacks a standardized care protocol for treating women with childbirth complications. The CDC Foundation, a public health care group funded by the Gates Foundation, said a recent analysis of maternal pregnancy-related deaths showed that nearly 60 percent were preventable.


U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Wash., introduced the Preventing Maternal Deaths Act of 2017 in March. The measure would authorize funding for states to eliminate disparities associated with pregnancy-related deaths and improve health care quality for mothers. No Missourians are listed among the measure’s 59 bipartisan co-sponsors.

The legislation says the United States is ranked 50th globally for its maternal mortality rate and is one of only eight countries where the rate has been increasing. The rate rose 26.6 percent from 2000 to 2014, increasing in nearly all states. At the same time, the nation has reduced the infant mortality rate. The rate is at it lowest point ever, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

More women die from pregnancy-related complications in the U.S. than in any other developed country, and most deaths result from hemorrhage, hypertensive disease and preeclampsia, a condition characterized by high blood pressure and damage to the liver and kidneys. Health studies show that black women are up to four times more likely to die from pregnancy-related problems than white women.


The death rates vary greatly in the United States and are particularly high in the District of Columbia, New Jersey, Georgia and Arkansas. The rate in Texas nearly doubled from 2000 to 2014.

Maternal mortality rates are dropping in California, which formed the Maternal Quality Care Collaborative in 2006 when deaths began rising. The partnership includes more than 40 public and private organizations that use data to improve outcomes for maternal and infant health.

Conservative politicians who claim to be “pro-life” should be the first to express outrage at the nation’s maternal mortality rate. Slashing funds for high-quality medical care to women is the opposite of a solution.

MaineWriter- Although I'm grateful to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch for bravely publishing this editorial, it strikes me as a public health policy failure that the Department of Health and Human Services, isn't leading a campaign, about this important health issue.

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