Health disparities among Black mothers highlighted during Black Maternal Health Week

Black maternal health week highlights health disparities

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - This week marks the fourth year of Black Maternal Health Week.

The goal is to amplify the voices of Black mamas and center the values and traditions of reproductive and birth justice.

The event was founded by Black Mamas Matter Alliance, a Black women-led, cross-sectoral alliance that advocates and shifts culture for Black maternal health, rights and justice. This year’s theme is “Resilience and Liberation.”

“Black women in this country are three to four times more likely to die or have a bad outcome than their white counterparts,” said Nikia Grayson, the director of clinical services at CHOICES.

Grayson is also a nurse/midwife. She says Black women have a harder time accessing health care, something the Coronavirus pandemic has made even more difficult.

“Because of the pandemic, many are coming into care later because, it’s not deemed as essential, or we don’t have as many appointments available,” she said.

Grayson says many of the disparities are due to housing, food and systemic barriers.

Tuesday, the White House released a proclamation recognizing Black Maternal Health Week and vowed to take steps to address the maternal health crisis, even providing $6 billion for the Special Nutrition Program for Women Infants and Children (WIC).

Grayson says there’s a long way to go, but this is a good start.

”We have to start somewhere, and this is, um, uh, start to really start to address the inequities that we’re seeing in our community,” she said.

In honor of Black Maternal Health Week, Grayson will sit on a panel Thursday for a Doula, Midwifery and Obstetric Care Webinar.

To register, CLICK HERE.

For more information about Black Maternal Health Week and Choices visit https://blackmamasmatter.org/bmhw/.

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