HOUSTON (FOX 26) - Why are so many black women dying during child birth in shocking numbers?
Many areas in Houston are seeing significantly higher infant and maternal death rates. In some parts of our city rates are nearly five times the national average.
Topping that list are black women and their babes. They are seen at great risk when it comes to maternal morality rates. The University of Houston is kicking off a program to address the problem after receiving a five million dollar grant. There could be new resources for services and education.
"Texas has the highest rate of uninsured, and black women are not immune to that," says McClain Sampson, associate professor at the Graduate College of Social Work and head of Healthy Start Initiative. "What we're seeing is a lack of access to services."
Sampson says there are many different risk factors contributing, including there being different locations to receive care and deliver, as well as late entry into prenatal care.
The national infant mortality rate is five to six percent. In Houston, the rate is double for black infants and their mothers.
Healthy Start Initiative is a national program, but has been absent in Houston since 2014. Education and prenatal care to mothers and fathers in the Houston area will be vastly increased, thanks to the recent five million dollar grant.
All the services will be totally free, but resources will be available to help get people insured and connected with clinics for long-term care.