Health

‘It’s preventable. We have Black mothers dying at three to four times the rates of white women, and it doesn’t have to be like that.’

‘It's preventable. We have Black mothers dying at three to four times the rates of white women, and it doesn't have to be like that.’
Written by Publishing Team

April Mickens Jolly is Vice President of Health Equity and Culture at Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis and Southwest Missouri area – and a black mother.

According to the Missouri Department of Health & Senior Services, black women in Missouri are 4 times more likely to die within a year of pregnancy than white women.

So Mickens Jolly explained how this serious problem goes beyond just seeing a doctor and what communities can do to reduce the risk of pregnancy for black women.

Missouri Health Talks brings together the stories of Missourians about accessing health care in their own words.

April Mickens Jolly: I don’t know if my experience as a black woman has made me better at my job.

I think it provides a level of empathy – maybe … I don’t know if it’s more empathy, but I’m definitely aware of how, you know, some of the challenges our patients face. are certainly facing.

But I think everyone who works in the health field in particular needs to be really aware that we don’t know everything and that we need to listen.

So, I mean, I think it’s important to point out that the crisis we’re seeing with maternal health, and certainly with black maternal health, is driven by systems and policies.

And specifically for black women – it’s systemic racism that’s at the root of much of what we see

“There’s nothing, you know, that’s wrong with black women – it makes their pregnancies or their health not as good as their counterparts who are a different race.”

April mickens jolly

And so, you know, when we talk about poor health outcomes and people losing their lives or not having the pregnancies that they wished they had – which maybe weren’t as healthy as we do. we all hoped – this is motivated by more than people’s access to clinical care.

It’s, you know, housing. Whether you are in stable housing, whether it is safe housing, whether it is affordable housing. Access to transport. Do you live in a neighborhood or county that offers access to affordable, healthy and quality food?

And so, all the kinds of intersections of all the policies that we define all have an impact on people’s ability to access – not just care, but also to lead healthy and prosperous lives – including the period before that. they only get pregnant during pregnancy and then in the postpartum period afterward.

I just want to make it clear that this is preventable – the crisis we are witnessing. We have black mothers who die three to four times more than white women, and it doesn’t have to be that way.

There’s nothing, you know, wrong with black women – it makes their pregnancies or their health not as good as their counterparts who are a different race.

And so, I just want to point out that the bottom line is that it’s, you know, systemic racism and the intersections of, you know, oppressive policies that led to this, and that through intentional policy we can also get to a place where This is not the case.

About the author

Publishing Team

Leave a Comment