The Facts

INFANT MORTALITY:

  • 23,000 babies die each year in the United States from their day of birth to their first birthday. Nearly half of these babies die on the day of birth. (CDC, 2017.)
  • As a frame of reference, 1,780 children in the U.S. die of cancer annually.
  • (National Cancer Institute, 2018.)
  • 5.9 babies are dying in the U.S. for every 1000 live births, between birth and their first birthdays. The international average is 3.9 babies dying per 1000 live births. (OECD, 2018.)
  • United States ranks poorly- 33 of 36 OEDC/developed countries. (OECD, 2018 Annual Report.)
  • Key Causes of Infant Mortality: Many of these deaths are preventable.
    • Birth defects
    • Pre-term birth and low birth weight
    • Lack of access to quality healthcare/transportation
    • Maternal pregnancy complications
    • Sudden infant death syndrome; injuries (e.g., suffocation) (CDC, 2019.)

MATERNAL MORTALITY:

  • Among nations that measure maternal mortality, the U.S. ranks 55th with 17.4 mothers dying for every 100,000 live births of their babies. (CDC, 2018.)
  • Nearly 700 women die in the United States on the day of giving birth through 42 days
  • post-partum. (CDC, 2018.)
    • Approximately 1/3 of deaths occurred during pregnancy.
    • Approximately 1/3 (36%) occurred at delivery or in the week after giving birth.
    • Approximately 1/3 (33%) occurred 1-week to 1-year post-partum.
  • Maternal death rates for Black women, Native Americans, Native Alaskans, and Pacific Islanders are 2-3 times higher than Caucasian, Hispanic and Asian women. (CDC, 2020.)
  • Key Causes of Maternal Mortality: many of these deaths are preventable
    • Hemorrhage
    • Infection
    • Eclampsia
    • Sepsis
    • Underlying health conditions, i.e., hypertension, heart, diabetes/obesity (CDC, 2019.)

Lack of Access to Quality Healthcare and Impact: Poor access to healthcare is one of the key determinants at the root of maternal and infant mortality. Other determinants including quality education, safe housing, food security, job opportunities and healthcare access/transportation, fuel poverty in communities throughout the United States. This disparity is significant in its impact on families in every corner of our country, from cities to rural America, and from Alaska to the Pacific Islands. Among these communities of Americans, the incidence of maternal and infant mortality are two to three times higher among Pacific Islander and African American families than Hispanic, Asian, and Caucasian moms and babies.

In the United States, 3.6 million Americans miss or delay medical appointments due to lack of available, affordable transportation.

Solution: We are a philanthropic organization that raises and awards funds to save lives by reducing Maternal and Infant Mortality. We achieve our mission by providing access to quality health care. We raise and award money to fund innovative transportation and telemedicine solutions. Our mission in-action overcomes transportation barriers on behalf of people living in underserved communities.

Telemedicine and in-home monitoring are proving to serve as effective, cost-saving alternatives to face-to-face medical visits that are often difficult to keep for women living in certain urban and rural areas. Telemedicine improves access to medical professionals, encourages follow-up visits by patients, promotes education via video chats, increases patient compliance and advances preventive care. The University of Mississippi, (U of M), with the Cost & Quality Academy, conducted a study to measure if telemedicine can improve patient compliance and prevent complications due to failure to take medications. U of M Medical Center telemedicine program gained 96% medication compliance for a group of diabetes patients over the term of the study.

Maternal and Infant Health are Intertwined: A direct correlation exists between maternal mortality and infant mortality. The healthier the mom, the better the chance of delivering a healthy baby, and the greater the opportunity for both mom and baby to thrive. The American Public Health Association describes infant mortality as, “A sentinel population health metric because it reflects the cumulative health experience of women and families as well as a society’s ability to care for a most vulnerable population.” Alarmingly, in the United States, incidents of maternal and infant mortality are higher than in similarly wealthy countries.Incidents of Infant Mortality and Maternal Mortality in the United States are equal to those of third world countries.

Infant Mortality: It is difficult to imagine that in the United States each year 23,000 babies die before their first birthday. This equates to nearly 6 babies of every 1000 born; 11,300 babies die the day they are born; Thousands of babies each year, carry chronic and debilitating medical conditions into childhood and require lifelong medical care.

Maternal Mortality: It is alarming that in the United States, more than 700 women die annually during pregnancy and within 42 days of giving birth. Many more moms suffer from serious medical conditions and complications before and after pregnancy and delivery, including heart and pulmonary disease. These conditions often go undiagnosed.

Why is the United States measurably deficient within the realms of infant and maternal mortality? Poverty is a root cause of infant and maternal mortality and related morbidities. Approximately 12 % of the U.S. population lives in poverty. Poor access to healthcare/transportation, education, lack of jobs, food insecurity and inadequate housing are core causes of poverty.

States and communities throughout the country are challenged to effectively deliver solutions to mitigate these core issues. Infant mortality is most prevalent in zip codes throughout the country where poverty thrives. Within these same zip codes, healthcare disparities exist for its residents.  African American and American Indian populations experience the greatest number of infant mortality deaths. Lack of access to quality healthcare is a major contributor.

Healthy moms = healthy babies: Many women begin their pregnancies in poor health. High blood pressure, heart and pulmonary illnesses are among the leading contributors to maternal mortality.

Moms with low incomes, and their children, typically do not have convenient access to quality healthcare. Healthy women have healthier pregnancies, babies, children, and healthier families. Key to ensuring women’s health is to provide better access to healthcare throughout all stages of life.