Tag Archives: health

Reducing Infant Mortality through Reproductive Health Education for New/Young Mothers

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

Poverty and Resources

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

The Implementation of Increased Preventative Efforts and Comprehensive Sexual Education Programs

By Sean Bolourchi

In Kalamazoo, Black infants are dying at a rate of 4.5 times higher than White infants. The Community Action Initiative started by Grace Lubwama, CEO of the YWCA, hopes to reduce ethnic infant mortality to six by 2020. The Community Action Initiative looks to collaborate with community members and key stakeholders to help lower Black infant mortality. A Perionatal Periods of Risk Analysis (PPOR) conducted by Catherine Kothari and her research team, showed that the primary risk factor associated with Black infant mortality was maternal health, which is mother’s health before, during, and after pregnancy. Further analysis showed that the primary risk factor associated with maternal health was unplanned pregnancies. Teenage and unplanned pregnancies remain a huge public health burden, as the teenage pregnancy rate in Kalamazoo County is 47%. Currently, Michigan does not mandate sexual education to be implemented as a requirement to graduate, and schools that provide sexual education do not stress increased contraceptive use as part of the content for sexual education. In order to lower Black infant mortality rates, more emphasis is needed on providing comprehensive sexual education to the younger generation, and in order to ensure positive health outcomes for teenagers or women who have had unplanned pregnancies, increased efforts are needed on implementing family health clinics that provide psychological, mental and social support for woman. Continue reading The Implementation of Increased Preventative Efforts and Comprehensive Sexual Education Programs

Postnatal Care

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