New Jersey Health Department data shows that while the state has one of the U.S.' lowest rates of babies dying before the age of one, the black infant mortality rate in that state is three times that of a white babies.
In trying to understand why, health care experts have found bed-sharing, second-hand smoke, opioid addiction and poor prenatal care as factors behind this sad statistic. Each of these things are typically experienced by families living in poverty.
In order to give black babies a better chance at making it through their early years, the state plans to award $4.3 million to six nonprofit organizations so they can implement programs assisting pregnant and postpartum mothers within "high-risk" communities.
New Jersey first lady Tammy Murphy made the announcement on Wednesday, according to NJ.com.
"Through the Healthy Women, Healthy Families Initiative, Dr. Elnahal and the Department of Health are working to help community-based programs improve services and provide quality access to perinatal care to reduce disparities in birth outcomes," Murphy said.
"I find it shameful that race persists as a factor in maternal health and infant mortality rates in New Jersey. We must continue to address the need for greater access to quality healthcare and services for our expectant mothers, especially for women of color," the first lady continued.
“It’s tragic that race determines health outcomes for some New Jersey mothers and babies,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Shereef Elnahal in a statement to the Press of Atlantic City. “Everyone — regardless of skin color — should be given an equal chance at a healthy productive life.”
The funds will be distributed between The Partnership for Maternal & Child Health of Northern New Jersey, Central Jersey Family Health Consortium, the Greater Newark Healthcare Coalition, Project Self-Sufficiency of Sussex County, the Southern New Jersey Perinatal Cooperative, The Children's Home Society of New Jersey, Statewide Parent Advocacy Network (SPAN) and Children's Futures' Trenton doula program.
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