Why Black Women, Infants Lag In Birth Outcomes
Across the country, black women fare worse than white women in almost every aspect of reproductive health. And black infants are more than twice as likely as white infants to die before their first birthdays.
“Women in particular, especially in low-income communities, have enormous stressors they’re coping with. They’re usually centrally responsible for raising children, taking care of ailing elders, working, earning money, dealing with material hardship.”
Jumping to the end of the article,
Doing Their Best, With Limited Funds
Back in Delaware, neonatologist David Paul agrees that addressing broader social issues would solve problems before patients land in the NICU. But he says that at the moment, there’s not enough research to convince those holding the purse strings that such a strategy would work.
“I think if we had data to show that, yeah, if we build more sidewalks, if we build more soccer fields, if we put more money into physical education at school, we’ll improve those outcomes later on, we’d be able to go to the legislators and have a lot more power to say, let’s put money upfront.”
For now, they are doing what they can, with limited funds.
In Delaware, the good news is that preterm births are down. The state’s infant mortality rate has also dropped — by about 10 percent since the early 2000s. However, it’s still higher than the national average.
Since 2006, the state has spent about $4 million a year on an assortment of programs aimed at eliminating stress, promoting healthier living and improving birth outcomes.
Is $4 million is adequate? “It’s been enough to make a difference in Delaware,” says Paul. “It’s not enough to eliminate the problem.”
And so for the foreseeable future, Paul will have additional duties — doing rounds with his patients at the NICU, and also convincing those in power that spending money upfront is an investment that could save millions in the long run.