$1.4 Million In Federal Funding To Be Allocated To Combatting Black Maternal Mortality In Harris County

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Texas has a higher rate than the national average, and Harris County’s rate is even higher than the state average.

$1.4 Million In Federal Funding To Be Allocated To Combatting Black Maternal Mortality In Harris County. (Photo:
Houston Public Media)

An additional $1.4 Million In Federal Cash Will Be Awarded To Harris County To Tackle Black Maternal Mortality

Houston Congresswoman Lizzie Fletcher said Tuesday morning that an additional $1.4 million in federal cash will be awarded to Harris County to tackle Black maternal mortality.

The United States has the highest rate of maternal mortality in the developed world, with Black women bearing a disproportionate share of the burden. According to CDC data released in March, the national maternal death rate increased for the fourth consecutive year in 2021, rising by 40% from 2020.

Texas has a higher rate than the national average, and Harris County’s rate is even higher than the state average.

The $1.4 million will go toward Harris County Public Health’s Black Maternal and Child Health Program, which is supported under the American Rescue Plan Act. The program, which began last year, aims to give education and assistance to around 300 families, including home visits, pregnancy and parenting materials, and transportation vouchers.

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Harris County Public Health Is Working To Remedy The Shocking Rate of Black Maternal Mortality

Robinson believes that the county’s shocking rate of Black maternal mortality is due in part to institutional racism and implicit racial bias within the medical industry, which Harris County Public Health is working to remedy. The agency is also working on a report on Black maternal mortality data particular to each Houston-area hospital to see where further support, training, and other interventions may be most needed.

Harris County Commissioner Rodney Ellis also mentioned racial bias as a role. Ellis serves as the county commissioner for Precinct 1, which has the county’s highest maternal mortality rate between 2016 and 2020.

According to a National Library of Medicine analysis, racial bias in healthcare settings has a major impact on health outcomes for Black patients and frequently leads to Black moms’ concerns being disregarded.

Robinson also blames some of the high rates of Black maternal death on the fact that, while being the third largest county in the US, Harris County traditionally lacked maternity, child, and adolescent health services.

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