September 29, 2019

REASON ENOUGH FOR THE rIGHT TO OPPOSE UNIVERSAL HEALTH CARE:

Why the United States has a high rate of maternal mortality (Deutsche-Welle, 9/29/19)

Kira Johnson's is not an isolated case. In the United States, 700 women a year die during pregnancy, in childbirth, or in the months that follow. No other industrial nation has such a high rate of maternal mortality. In Germany, the proportion is less than half this.

Black women in the United States are particularly at risk. All across the country, they are three times as likely to be affected as white women. In certain states, the color of a woman's skin has even greater influence over life and death. Washington DC comes right at the bottom of the ratings.

It is unclear why Kira Johnson was operated on too late for a second time. But there are many reasons why African-American women are disproportionately affected. One is the lack of access to health care, says Aza Nedhari. Nedhari works as a midwife and is the director of Mamatoto Village, a society that runs a birth center in the south of the city of Washington DC. There are four hospitals in Washington with maternity wards, but none are in the south, where the population is predominantly black.

Nedhari can look after only a few pregnant women in her birth center, and only if the pregnancy is without complications and the birth spontaneous, i.e. if the child is born naturally. The majority of expectant mothers, especially those with high-risk pregnancies, have to go to hospital for tests and to give birth. Nedhari explains that for most women in the south of the city, this means they have to travel for well over an hour each way. It's also often difficult for pregnant women with insecure jobs, or children, to attend all their check-ups.

Stacey D. Stewart is another who sees the lack of medical care -- and affordable care in particular -- as the reason why maternal mortality in the US as a whole is so high. Stewart, the president of the women's rights organization March of Dimes, is calling for the status of midwives and doulas to be enhanced so that mothers can receive better care in their home districts. Her organization also campaigns for treatments in the first 12 months after the birth to be covered by Medicaid and for insurance coverage not to end with the birth itself.

Posted by at September 29, 2019 12:15 PM

  

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