FRESNO, CA—Pregnant Black women throughout Fresno County are a major part of the ongoing national crisis regarding the high infant mortality rate.
According to the Centers for Disease Control Health United States Report, 2016
African Americans have 2.2 times the infant mortality rate as non-Hispanic whites.
African American infants are 3.2 times as likely to die from complications related to low birthweight as compared to non-Hispanic white infants.
African Americans had over twice the sudden infant death syndrome mortality rate as non-Hispanic whites, in 2014.
In 2014, African American mothers were 2.2 times more likely than non-Hispanic white mothers to receive late or no prenatal care.
Nationally, African American infants are more than two times more likely to die within the first year than other infants. This startling statistic represents a failure of public health to adequately address the specific obstacles facing the African-American community in obtaining quality pre- and post-natal care.
However, Fresno County’s rate of Black infant mortality are two times higher than California’s overall statistics, according to National Center for Health Statistics.
Luckily, the Black Infant Health Program has been embraced throughout California, especially in Fresno County, to help mothers like Aisha, who deserve to have that assistance during pregnancy. The goal of the BIH Program is to improve African-American infant and maternal health, as well as decrease health and social inequities for women and infants; Black women ages 18 and up, and who are 30 weeks pregnant or less are eligible for the free services provided by Fresno BIH.
Whether one is middle-class upper-class, or no class preference, within a culturally affirming environment and honoring the unique history of African-American women, the Black Infant Health (BIH) Program aims to help women have healthy babies. Participants learn proven strategies to reduce stress and develop life skills. This is accomplished through a group-based approach with complementary case management. Weekly group sessions help women build social support, access their strengths, make positive choices and set health-promoting goals.
Over the next several weeks, watch video excerpts of the Fresno BIH group sessions, Sista Talk, as they discuss key issues during pregnancy, while holistically helping pregnant Black women of all ages, all backgrounds, and no discrimination of class structure; the crisis is affecting all Black women, no matter who they are.