In 2019, the Georgia Maternal Mortality Review Committee (MMRC) was established in response to alarming statistics – a 2010 Amnesty International study ranked Georgia 50th in maternal mortality. House resolution 589, passed by the Georgia Assembly, acknowledged the state's position among the top 10 with the highest maternal mortality rates. A case study by MMRC revealed that 60% of pregnancy-related deaths were preventable, exposing a critical issue that demands urgent attention.
The Numbers Speak:
Georgia's maternal mortality ratio stands at 25.9 pregnancy-related deaths per 100,000 live births, surpassing the national ratio of 19. The leading causes of pregnancy-related deaths in Georgia, spanning from 2012-2014, include cardiomyopathy, hemorrhage, cardiovascular and coronary conditions, embolism, preeclampsia, and eclampsia, as well as ammonitic fluid embolism.
Disparities in Maternal Health:
The data exposes stark racial and residential disparities in pregnancy-related deaths. Black women experience three to four times higher death rates compared to white non-Hispanic women. Moreover, Black women in rural communities face a 30% higher maternal mortality rate than their urban counterparts. While the lack of access to care disproportionately affects women in rural areas, the broader issue of inadequate quality and affordable health insurance and care persists in the Black community.
Medicaid Coverage Challenges:
Despite over 50% of Georgia's births being covered by Medicaid, the health care needs of post-partum women remain limited under the program. This underscores the necessity for comprehensive healthcare coverage for all Georgians. Georgia STAND-UP has long advocated for the full expansion of Medicaid, emphasizing the importance of ensuring access to affordable and quality healthcare for everyone.
A Call to Action:
It is unconscionable that preventable pregnancy-related deaths persist in the state of Georgia. In a state renowned as the number one place to do business for ten consecutive years, addressing the social, economic, environmental, and educational determinants of maternal health is crucial. The time to act is now.
Join the Cause:
On January 23, 2024, join the Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies Coalition of Georgia for Maternal Health Awareness Day at the Georgia State Capitol. This event aims to raise awareness, foster dialogue, and encourage action to combat maternal mortality in the state.
For more information, visit the 2024 Maternal Health Awareness Legislative Program.
Together, we can make strides towards a healthier and thriving populace in Georgia.