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.
A new company, Square Roots — a life sciences company focused on integrating technology and human services to improve and optimize the state of maternal and infant care — was launched in June of this year with the express purpose of working to lower the maternal and infant mortality rates in the US. Thus far, their resolution to combat maternal and infant mortality across the country was approved and adopted by the U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) 83rd Annual Meeting in San Francisco.
As of now although the resolution (PDF) was adopted by the country’s mayors, concrete plans to lower the maternal and newborn rates aren’t apparent save working with scientists and medical institutions to gather evidence-based information for mothers through health care solutions and mobile apps.
Hopefully, Square Roots’ contribution to lowering maternal and infant mortality will be innovative enough to make a difference.