FRESNO, CA—Fresno County Department of Public Health has been aggressively tackling a national crisis locally through their Fresno Black Infant Health Program (FBIH).
National statistics have shown that African-American infants are more than two times more likely to die within the first year than other infants. However the public outcry is still dismal, as the link to the societal racial pressures and Black mothers having miscarriages or babies born with low-birth rates is not connecting in the mindsets of many.
Ironically, the Fresno County statistics regarding Black infant mortality is two times higher than the state of California stats: Infant mortality refers to the death of infants before their first birthday. It is expressed as a rate by the number of infant deaths per 1,000 live births in the same year. Preterm birth refers to a baby born before 37 weeks of pregnancy.
Since 1991, the FBIH program, one of 17 BIH programs in California, has worked to decrease the infant mortality rate in the African-American community. FBIH accepts Black women ages 18 and up, and who are 30 weeks pregnant or less into their program; pregnant Black women in general can still benefit from the plethora of free information on their website and online TV channel here.
In the beginning episodes of Fresno Black Infant Health’s Sista’ Talk, public health nurse, Janel Claybon, explains the incredible pressures and stressors that Black women go through due to racism and other societal factors, according to multiple research sources; it was found that even established middle-class and upper-class Black women who were financially sound were still experiencing miscarriages due to such pressures.
These facts were presented via video from the research of neonatologists James Collins and Richard David who specialize in the care of infants born too soon or too small. Their research on differences in birth outcomes between African American and white American women points to a provocative idea: the cumulative stress of racism is taking a toll on African American families even before they are born, according to YouTube video excerpt, Unraveling the Mystery of Black-White Differences in Infant Mortality, which is shown later in upcoming Sista' Talk episodes.
Members of the Sista’ Talk group discussed and shared similar challenges from their own incredible life experiences while pregnant, (watch past episodes here and recent episode below.)
Some mothers shared their miscarriage occurrences from previous pregnancies that took an emotional toll on them, even to this day.
Viewers are encouraged to watch episodes of Sista’ Talk to learn more information and tips to help collectively bring down the startling rate of Black infant mortality in Fresno County.