Delaware County Recognizes April 11-17 as Black Maternal Health Week

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Released: April 12, 2024

Delaware County Recognizes April 11-17 as Black Maternal Health Week

Delaware County Council and the Delaware County Health Department were proud to partner with The Foundation for Delaware County to celebrate Black Maternal Health Week, a week-long campaign, held annually from April 11-17, founded and led by the Black Mamas Matter Alliance to build awareness, activism, and community-building to amplify the voices, perspectives and lived experiences of Black Mamas and birthing people.

Black and Brown women are three times more likely to die during childbirth compared to White women. Research also shows that Black women are at significantly higher risk for severe maternal morbidity and also have higher rates of admission to the intensive care unit during delivery compared to White women.

There are clear racial disparities in maternal and infant health and it’s critical that we work to raise awareness and create change.

“Addressing the stark disparities in maternal health is not just a professional obligation, it's a personal commitment for me as a woman of color and a mother,” said Delaware County Council Chair Dr. Monica Taylor. “Ensuring that every mother in Delaware County has access to safe, equitable healthcare is fundamental to our community's wellbeing.”

During Black Maternal Health Week, the Foundation for Delaware County hosted “A Delco Call to Action” on Thursday, April 11 at Widener University. Delaware County Council Chair Dr. Monica Taylor joined a distinguished panel of health stakeholders, including Joanne Craig, Chief Impact Officer, The Foundation for Delaware County, State Rep. Gina H. Curry, Co-founder of the Black Maternal Health Caucus, Lonnese Bodison, Senior Director of Programs with the Maternity Care Coalition, Melissa Patti, Director Maternal & Infant Health Initiative at the March of Dimes, and Robert Speer, DCHD's Community Health Planner to discuss strategies and collaborative efforts aimed at improving maternal health outcomes.

“I was honored to moderate this important discussion in celebration of Black Maternal Health Week,” said The Foundation for Delaware County’s Ms. Craig. “We know that Black babies die at 3.6 times the rate of white infants in Delaware County, and we see pregnant people choosing not to go to the doctor because of lack of access to providers, lack of insurance, transportation, comfort level with care, and cost. We must do more and better for our mothers, and our babies.”

During the discussion, DCHD addressed the impacts of the loss of hospitals and lack of medical providers, infant mortality rates, and the need for increased access to birthing education, programs, and resources.

"We are thrilled to be part of such a vital initiative aimed at addressing the critical issues surrounding Black maternal health," said Delaware County Health Department Director Melissa Lyon. "A Delco Call to Action serves as an important platform for collaboration, advocacy, and awareness, and we look forward to seeing everyone there."

For those interested in further engagement throughout Black Maternal Health Week, additional events hosted by the Foundation for Delaware County and the Pennsylvania Black Maternal Health Caucus will take place both in Delaware County, Harrisburg and online.

Local and online events can be found at .

Registration for Harrisburg events can be completed at .

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Delaware County, presently consisting of over 184 square miles divided into forty-nine municipalities is the oldest settled section of Pennsylvania.

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