Albany and Atlanta team up to combat maternal mortality

Updated: May. 26, 2021 at 8:00 PM EDT
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ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - Georgia has the highest death rate for pregnant women in the country. It’s twice the national average, according to the CDC.

If those statistics sound shocking, the death rates of African American women are even higher, at three to six times the national average.

In the next few weeks, SOWEGA Rising will start a focus group at Phoebe to help with the problem.

Emory Hospital and University and Morehouse College will help with the effort called “The Porch Project.”

“We can really start talking to women who are in their prenatal care or in the middle of their prenatal care or a few months postpartum. So that we can talk to them about their experiences,” said SOWEGA Rising Chair, Sherrell Byrd.

Sessions will start next month.

They aim to find barriers to care, like lack of access to transportation or costs.

Eventually, Morehouse and Emory will create a study with the findings and help launch a doctor-patient app.

“To be able to track the responses of the doctors and what type of interventions are being given. What are the response times for these women so that we can try to get a realistic idea of what the problem is and kind of put power back into the hands of the women,” she said.

Those who participate will make a huge difference. Georgia’s high rates of maternal mortality make it a prime location to study.

Georgia has the highest death rate for pregnant women in the country.
Georgia has the highest death rate for pregnant women in the country.(GA Department of Health)

“Emory and Morehouse are piloting in southwest Georgia because our rates are so high. So women in this focus group will really help to inform how this app will be developed,” she explained.

The World Health Organization defines maternal mortality as deaths during pregnancy or childbirth or 42 days after.

Byrd said, “The Porch Project” got its name because culturally the porch is a safe, loving, gathering place that lets you know you are home.

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