From time to time I like to look back into history and share photos I find in the Library of Congress archives. I have done that previously with breastfeeding, newborn health, and tuberculosis. Today, I am sharing photographs I found of rural midwives in the south.
I have often focused on maternal health and mortality around the globe especially where the deaths rates are the largest, but there is much-needed sustained discussion about maternal mortality in the United States. I have detailed the problem in several previous posts here including:
- New Company Launches to Combat Maternal and Newborn Mortality in the US
- Artist Puts Spotlight on Maternal Mortality and Obstetric Abuse in America
- Maternal Mortality in the United States: The Numbers May Surprise You
- Why Congress Needs to Pass the Maternal Health Accountability Act of 2014
Periodically I will share news and updates about what is happening in the maternal health space in the United States including the successes and failures to save more women’s lives as well as the key players who are making a difference.
The word is getting out that maternal and newborn mortality are an ever-increasing problem in the United States. As I have written before, the United States has the highest ratio of maternal mortality of any developed country in the world and yet we spend the most on health care globally.
While many (including scientists and health professionals) don’t know concretely why maternal mortality is continuing to rise in the US, the fact remains that the problem is not getting better. In fact, it is incrementally getting worse. In fact, according to recent findings from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation the United States has a maternal mortality rate of 18.5 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births in the U.S., up from 12.4 deaths per 100,000 births in 1990.
Companies such as Merck that launched Merck for Mothers and Texts4Baby, for example, are working on innovative ways to reach and inform mothers about how they can be as healthy as possible during and after childbirth. Additionally, grassroots organizations and birthing centers like Florida’s CommonSense Childbirth and Arizona’s The Birthing Project are working in communities to help mothers and their newborns stay alive.
This year marks the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. Did you know that Katrina led to 5,000 reported missing children and it took seven months to connect the last child with her parents?
This summer, during the height of the hurricane season Save the Children wants parents and their children to be prepared should disaster strike again. Save the Children is imploring parents to make sure their children have an emergency contact card with not only information for local family, but also family who live out of town. This is critically important because during disasters local networks and telephones lines are usually down. Being able to call family who are not affected by a storm is important to connect children back to families.
Make your emergency contact form for free at www.savethechildren.org/Connect.