By Olivia Nalugya
Birth outcomes for young and new mothers are more likely to be poor compared to older mothers. Negative birth outcomes for young mothers have to do with social and economic factors such as stress and domestic abuse. However, based on findings from focus groups on Kalamazoo Black infant mortality, it was evident that young mothers lack information on how to take care of themselves before, during and after pregnancy which also contributes to poor birth outcomes. This article explores the need for education services for young and first time mothers and also questions the accessibility of such resources in Kalamazoo to young mothers. Recommendations for better or more successful resources for young mothers include models such as the Health Babies Project in the District of Columbia. Continue reading Reducing Infant Mortality through Reproductive Health Education for New/Young Mothers
By Ramya Dronamraju
Black infant mortality rates are dangerously high in the Kalamazoo Country area. These Black infant mortality rates are correlated to the poverty in the Kalamazoo county area. 85% of Black women live in poverty in Kalamazoo. Factors affecting these rates include poverty and access to resources that are needed to raise a baby. Those living in difficult financial situations may not have access to important resources- materially and with regards to health care. This could potentially worsen the health of mothers and the babies in their care. This paper explores the access to resources mothers may or may not have in Kalamazoo while in situations of poverty and the disconnect in communication between professionals, community members and mothers. Continue reading Poverty and Resources
By Courtney Wise
“Black babies died at a 4.5 times higher rate than white infants in Kalamazoo County over the last three years, up from 2 to 3 times higher rate about 20 years ago” (Mcmichael, 2015). How did this happen? Why does this rate keep on rising? In this section, the aspects of family structure and its impact on black infant mortality will be explored. This section includes structural violence, access to health care, single motherhood, poverty and the prison-industrial complex. Continue reading Family Structure: How Does it Impact Black Infant Mortality?
By Madeline LeVasseur
Postnatal care involves an immensely critical time in the life of a newborn and its mother. Over two-thirds of all newborn deaths occur in their first week of life, and half of these deaths occur in the first twenty-four hours. In Kalamazoo, the disparity in infant mortality between black and white babies makes this first period of life even more crucial to addressing the rate of black infant mortality in our community. In focus groups with community members, Black mothers have expressed shared feelings of being rushed through this vital period of care after giving birth. Healthcare workers expressed speculations about the degree of respect that mothers are receiving in Kalamazoo and discussed the negative impact of not having a racially diverse staff to interact with a racially diverse community. To address the problem of black infant mortality in the context of postnatal care, we recommend increasing the amount of care after delivery with increased home visits to mothers and their newborns. Furthermore, it is recommended that health facilities require racism training for all staff in order that the relationship between mothers and healthcare professionals be significantly improved. Continue reading Postnatal Care
By Mele Makalo
In Kalamazoo, black infant mortality is a pressing issue that demands continued community examination, dialogue, and action. While black infant mortality is not a recent problem in Kalamazoo, the collective community attention towards acknowledging and addressing the issue is. The unfortunate reality that from 2000 – 2012, the county’s mortality rate for white infants was 5.7 deaths per one one thousand births while there were 18.2 deaths per one thousand black infants highlights the critical value of collective community dialogue and engagement in and with the issue of black infant mortality in Kalamazoo.
Continue reading Support through Grief: A Process Dismissed