African American women in the United States…
experience unacceptably poor maternal health outcomes, including disproportionately high rates of preventable deaths related to pregnancy and/or childbirth. Both societal and health system factors contribute to high rates of poor health outcomes and maternal mortality for African American women, who are more ikely to experience barriers to receiving quality care and often face discrimination throughout their lives.
Due to lower incomes African American women and their families have less money to support themselves and their families, forcing them to choose between essential resources like housing, childcare, food, and health care.
These trade-offs are evident in African American women’s health outcomes and use of medical care. Compared to other races, African American women are more likely to be uninsured, face greater financial obstacles to care when they need it and have less access to prenatal care. Indeed, African American women experience higher rates of many preventable diseases and chronic health conditions including diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular disease. When, or if, African American women choose to become pregnant, these health conditions influence both maternal and infant ealth outcomes.
Many African American women have a difficult time accessing the reproductive health care that meets their needs. Access to reproductive health care, which helps women plan their families, improves health outcomes for themselves and their children
perform worse on 12 of 15 birth outcomes, including elective deliveries, non-elective cesarean births and aternal
Support Is Important
The Balm In Gilead seeks to mobilize the faith community and raise awareness of the issues affecting Maternal and Reproductive Health Care among African American women via the capacity development of African merican congregations to become an integral partner in:
Educating the African American community on behaviors that support proper prenatal,postnatal and overall reproductive health care
Increasing awareness about the need for early maternal care.
Provide training and information to healthcare & public health professionals, regarding specific issues affecting maternal and reproductive health care among African American women
Develop culturally tailored, faith-based tools and resources to be utilized by the health ministries to raise wareness about maternal care specifically affecting African American women within their congregations and communities