It has been an historic week with the announcement of Kamala D. Harris as the first black woman nominee for vice president. Pundits and political experts alike will without doubt parse through her record from her time working as DA of San Francisco and Attorney General of California as well as serving in the United States Senate. One thing is clear: Senator Harris has worked tirelessly on maternal health issues as it pertains to black women who are three times more likely than white women to die due to pregnancy and delivery complications.
Harris joined forces with Rep. Lauren Underwood (D-IL) and Rep. Alma Adams (D-NC) to introduce the Black Maternal Health Momnibus, a series of nine bills that take racial disparities out of the maternal health outcomes, funds communty-based maternal health organizations, improves data collection, and invests in digital health tools among other pertinent issues.
In February of this year, Harris convened a Black Maternal Health Roundtable where women recounted their experiences with health care providers during their pregnancies and experts discussed racial disparities in maternal health care.
During the holidays $511 million dollars was donated online on Giving Tuesday. That marks an increase of 28% from 2018. While the total number of charitable donations have yet to be tallied for the entirety of 2019, estimates hover around $430 billion. Given that, what cities and states are giving the most money online and volunteering the most time to charities? WalletHub dug into the statistics and discovered the most charitable states and drilled down to the most caring cities.
Now that 2020 is in full swing I decided to catch up on the many maternal health and mortality articles that were published during the holiday season. There has been a lot of stellar reporting that you might have missed. I did. Here is a compilation of some of the articles I found the most compelling starting with a wrap-up post, 7 things I learned from spending a year reporting on mothers in Alabama, by Anna Claire Volle about the excellent year-long reporting she did on mothers in Alabama. I particularly liked
When I was in high school I was a volunteer at my local Red Cross donation center. I did a variety of things like give donors cookies and juice after they donated blood, separated the vials (sans any blood) between autologous, directed, and regular blood donations, and also registered donors into the system. I loved every bit of that volunteer work and am always happy to talk about the lifesaving work the American Red Cross does all year long.
Every January since 1970 the American Red Cross has celebrated National Blood Donor Month. This time of year there is always a heightened need for blood donations due to the increase in communicable diseases and also because it is after the holidays when most people put off giving blood. Additionally, inclement weather keeps many away from donation centers. The American Red Cross is asking the public to donate blood, platelets, and plasma. In order to sustain the blood supply for 2600 hospitals, clinics, and cancer centers, 13,000 donations are needed per day during National Blood Donor Month.
As I have written many times before postpartum hemorrhage (PPH) or excessive uterine bleeding after childbirth is the leading cause of maternal mortality in low-and-middle income countries. The recommended drug to prevent PPH according to the World Health Organization (WHO) is oxytocin. When administered in its recommended dose it causes little to no side effects. Oxytocin, the WHO’s current gold standard therapy, however, must be refrigerated and administered by skilled health workers posing two obstacles to its wider use in low resource, tropical settings.
Some countries have approved misoprostol, an oral drug, to prevent PPH, but there are several concerns that its use can be misappropriated for abortions instead of used solely for PPH. The World Health Organization has listed misoprostol as an alternative to oxytocin if it is not available.
Now, another PPH preventative drug, carbetocin, has been added to the latest updated 2019 WHO Essential Medicines List. The announcement was made last week. Unlike oxytocin, even at high temperatures carbetocin remains effective. The recommendation is that carbetocin can be used when oxytocin is not available or if its quality is uncertain. Additionally, the cost must be comparable to oxytocin.