$5 Million Grant for Maternal Health in Arkansas
Arkansas (KNWA/FOX24) — Arkansas has one of the worst states in the nation when it comes to maternal mortality, but new federal funding could help change that.
“Arkansas ranks fifth in the nation for the worst maternal mortality rates,” said Nirvana Manning, Ph.D., chair and associate professor of obstetrics and genetics at the University of Arkansas Medical Sciences.
Dr. Manning said Arkansas’ rural nature contributes to the problems that lead to the state’s high maternal mortality rate.
“In these pockets there is usually higher poverty and usually lower education,” she said.
But a $5 million HERSA grant from the US Department of Health could make all the difference. Dr. Manning said UAMS and the Arkansas Department of Health will work together to put the funds to good use.
“We want to do outreach in a few different ways to address maternal health, morbidity, mortality, and access across our state,” she said. I got
Dr. Creshelle Nash is Director of Health Equity and Public Programs for Arkansas Blue Cross Blue Shield. She hopes the money will help women of color.
“African-American and Hispanic women are two to three times more likely to die in childbirth than white women in Arkansas than other women.
Data from the Arkansas Maternal Mortality Review Board Black, non-Hispanic women were found to account for 19% of all births and 37% of pregnancy-related deaths in 2018.
“I am committed to quality care, or members, not just to people with health insurance plans, but to the community as a whole, and we have to stay committed to that,” she said. .
She sees a well-trained workforce, a diverse workforce, committed to quality of care, and wants people to feel comfortable seeking care from our healthcare system.
Dr. Manning said he wants to break down barriers to access by creating hubs across the state and utilizing mobile units. She also said she is considering launching her online dashboard on women’s health.
“We spend a significant amount of time breastfeeding and a significant amount of time on nutrition, car seat safety and health,” she said.
“The community needs to be involved in every step of the process of defining what the problem is and defining the solution,” said Dr. Nash.
Dr. Manning said the grant will provide $1 million annually for the next five years and will likely begin a conference on the use of the funds in October.
The Arkansas Blue Cross Blue Shield is hosting a free seminar at Rogers on Thursday called “Take Good Care: Mom and Baby.” Held at the Arkansas Blue Welcome Center from 5:30 PM to 7:30 PM. There are specialists who can provide important information for expectant mothers and women trying to conceive.
Click here to register for that event.