Meredith Matone and her PolicyLab colleague authored an article for the Philly Voice outlining how both collective action and public health approaches are needed to improve maternal and infant mortality rates.
Maternal and infant mortality are interconnected issues that are also touchstones for the health and well-being of a population. In the United States – affronted by the COVID-19 pandemic, a substance use crisis, growing economic inequality, racism and an increasingly fragmented and costly system of health care – mortality rates among women and babies have gone from unacceptably stagnant to unjustly slipping with widespread disparities across racial and ethnic groups.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently reported a 14% increase in maternal mortality in 2020, with disproportionate impacts among mothers of color. Pennsylvania’s new Maternal Mortality Review Committee report, the first statewide look at these data, found that pregnancy-associated death was on the rise in the state even before the pandemic, increasing by 21% from 2013 to 2018.