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A WGVU initiative in partnership with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation using on-air programs and community events to explore issues of inclusion and equity.

MI continues to experience high maternal and infant mortality rates

Photo of a newborn baby
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Every year, hundreds of babies in Michigan die before they turn one, often from preventable and treatable conditions, and while the rate is high for all babies Black and Native American babies are less likely to survive their first year of life according to a new report from the Michigan League for Public Policy. And according to Amber Bellazair, author of the report,  Michigan has shown improvements in infant mortality, but the state’s rate is above that of the U.S. as a whole says. 

“Pre-term birth, low birth weight and sleep related deaths are some primary contributors to early death so addressing causes of preterm birth, low birth weight and sleep related accidents is certainly a place to focus when we are talking about improving infant rate mortality.”

Although the maternal mortality rate in the state is below that of the country’s , nearly 53% of deaths between 2011 and 2016 were determined to have been preventable. 

“The burden of maternal mortality for women of color in the U.S. and in Michigan is certainly a primary concern and should be a concern for public health advocates, for lawmakes, for all of us, because the impact of maternal deaths affects our broader community not just individual families.”

Beyond healthcare and coverage, strategies aimed at increasing protective health factors among expectant women are likely to support improved birth outcomes for women and their children says Bellazaire. 

“There are roles for everyone. There is work to be done more at the individual level and interventions that can take place to improve doctor/patient relationships and then you sort of work your way up—things that can be done at the community level and at the policy level.”

Michelle Jokisch Polo, WGVU News. 

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