New Albany women’s medical care center helps fill OB/GYN void in Southwest Ga.

New women’s medical care center fills OB/GYN void in Albany
Published: Apr. 13, 2023 at 5:58 PM EDT
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ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - A new women’s center is opening its doors in Albany amid an ongoing shortage of prenatal care and delivery services in Southwest Georgia.

This comes on the same day as Donalsonville Hospital announced they are closing their obstetrician (OB) department.

“So many in this area of care are leaving. So few are coming in,” Elois Edge, a midwife, said.

The center’s namesake is Elois Edge, the Elois Edge Women’s Health Center. She’s been a midwife in Albany for many decades. Her life’s mission is to decrease maternal mortality rates. She said an issue for providers is how many patients are deemed “high risk.” The poverty and insurance rates also steer providers away.

The center's namesake is Elois Edge.
The center's namesake is Elois Edge.(WALB)

“It’s like God is helping now. Someone is listening. My motto about helping others: Helping the least of those. This office might seem small, but it will increase the access to care,” Edge said.

The new care center will bring their total to serve 2,500 to 3,000 patients. When OBs are hard to come by, it might be harder for expecting mothers to find prenatal care close by. That’s something AAPHC wants to prevent from happening.

“They can start prenatal care early. As we know that is the biggest factor to preventing for maternal outcomes,” Dr. Sheena Favors said.

Favors is a board-certified OB/GYN. Through a program aimed at exposing aspiring providers to becoming an OB or GYN, she fell in love with rural Georgia.

Chief Executive Officer of Albany Area Primary Health Care Shelley Spires says appointment spots will fill up quickly because there’s such a need. To help keep the care center open, they will be recruiting providers from inside and outside of the county.

“It allows you to experience something you’ve not seen before. Even though it is a requirement, it exposes you to different types of communities,” Dr. Favors said.

There’s still a huge need here in Southwest Georgia. WALB has reached out to the Donalsonville Hospital to request an interview. We are working to learn why they closed and the impacts on local families.