Black Maternal Health Week is here!

Welcome to Black Maternal Health Week! Black Maternal Health Week (BMHW) is held every year from April 11-17. It was founded by the Black Mamas Matter Alliance “to build awareness, activism, and community-building to amplify the voices, perspectives, and lived experiences of Black Mamas and birthing people.” Here are some important things to know about BMHW!

  • In Philadelphia, like in many other cities in the United States, Black birthing people experience complications during pregnancy and childbirth at a higher rate than White birthing people. The reasons for this are complex and there is a lot of work to be done to address the roots of these disparities.
Source: Improving outcomes: Maternal Mortality in Philadelphia, 2020
  • The Black Mamas Matter Alliance is a national organization that advocates for policies and programs that improve maternal health outcomes for Black women. They are hosting a number of virtual events, including a Black Doula Day Virtual Pep Rally and a Data & Innovation Day.
  • In Philly, the Oshun Family Center partners with the Black Mamas Matter Alliance and serves as regional leaders in organizing BMHW. You can find a full list of their local events here. One of MCFH’s coalitions, The OVA, is proud to sponsor Oshun Family Center’s BMHW events.
  • The Philadelphia Department of Public Health’s Division of Maternal, Child, and Family Health (MCFH) is committed to partnering with lived experience experts to uplift and grow community-based solutions, such as the Newborns and Neighbors initiative by the Philly Maternal and Infant Health Community Action Network (Philly CAN).
  • Another program developed by Philly CAN and which takes aim at reducing racial disparities in birth outcomes in Philadelphia is the Philly Joy Bank. The Philly Joy Bank is a monthly guaranteed income pilot that will provide pregnant and postpartum Philadelphians with unrestricted cash for 18 months. The income is no-strings-attached and respects the dignity and autonomy of participants by allowing them the freedom to use the cash as they determine to best address their needs. Stay tuned for program launch updates!
  • BMHW intentionally overlaps with National Minority Health Month (April) and the International Day for Maternal Health & Rights (April 11). National Minority Health Month raises awareness about the importance of improving the health of racial and ethnic minority communities in the U.S. and reducing health disparities. The International Day for Maternal Health & Rights aims to encourage rights-based, respectful care of women during pregnancy and childbirth.

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