Kisha’s Blog

Empowering people with the knowledge to support their heart health and save lives.

Addressing the Maternal Health Crisis: A Call to Action for Black Women’s Lives

by | Mar 5, 2024 | Uncategorized | 0 comments

As a black woman in America, I refuse to remain silent about the maternal health crisis that continues to claim the lives of too many mothers, especially those who look like me. This crisis is not just a statistic; it’s a reality that has shattered lives, including my own.

According to the American Heart Association, cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death for new mothers. This fact alone should ignite a sense of urgency among policymakers and medical professionals. Yet, what’s even more appalling is the glaring racial disparity in maternal mortality rates. Black women are four times more likely to die from pregnancy-related complications than white women. Let that sink in. Four times.

In 2011, just two weeks after giving birth, I experienced a near-fatal heart attack at the tender age of 31. This wasn’t due to some random occurrence; it was a result of Spontaneous Coronary Artery Dissection (SCAD) followed by a Widowmaker heart attack. My story is not unique. It echoes the struggles of countless black women who have faced similar ordeals, many of whom did not survive to tell their tales.

The crisis we face is not just about individual tragedies; it’s about systemic failures. It’s about a healthcare system that fails to prioritize the well-being of black mothers. It’s about a society that perpetuates racial and gender disparities, even in matters of life and death.

We cannot afford to overlook the gravity of this issue. The future of our communities and the health of women, regardless of race, hang in the balance. We must hold our government and medical institutions accountable for the injustices that have led to this crisis.

First and foremost, there must be comprehensive reforms within the healthcare system to ensure equitable access to quality care for all mothers. This includes addressing implicit biases among healthcare providers and investing in culturally competent care. Medical professionals must undergo training to recognize and address the unique needs of black women during pregnancy and childbirth.

Additionally, there must be increased funding for research into maternal health, with a specific focus on understanding and addressing the underlying factors contributing to the disproportionately high mortality rates among black women. We need targeted interventions and policies that address social determinants of health, such as poverty, racism, and lack of access to healthcare.

Furthermore, we must amplify the voices of black women in healthcare advocacy and policy-making spaces. Our experiences, expertise, and insights are invaluable in shaping solutions that truly address the root causes of the maternal health crisis.In my book, “Sonata for a Damaged Heart,” I share my journey of survival and resilience in the face of adversity. But my story is just one piece of the larger puzzle. It’s time for us to come together, as black women and allies, to demand justice and equity in maternal healthcare.

The time for action is now. We cannot afford to wait any longer while more lives are lost. Let us honor the memory of those we have lost by fighting tirelessly for a future where every mother, regardless of race, has the opportunity to thrive and raise her child in good health and happiness.

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