I wanted to take this moment to address a concerning issue that has been in the news recently: the significant increase in maternal mortality rates in the United States in 2021.
As you may already know, the CDC has reported a devastating 40% increase in these rates, which is alarming and deeply troubling. In 2019, the CDC reported that nearly 60% of all pregnancy-related maternal deaths are preventable.
At the NSO, in alignment with our mission and because of the communities and families that our programs serve, we have made it a top priority to address maternal mortality and morbidity. We have long known that the United States has the highest rates among industrialized countries, but this recent increase is particularly concerning. We know that racial disparities and preventable deaths are the primary drivers behind these rates, especially among Black and American Indian/Alaska Native (AIAN) women. Among Black women, the maternal mortality rate rose to 69.9, about 2.5 times that of both white and Hispanic women.
As an organization committed to promoting health equity and eliminating racial disparities, we are working alongside our network partners to reduce pregnancy-related complications and deaths. We will continue to prioritize this issue and take actions to address it, including implementing evidence-based preventions and interventions, providing culturally competent care, advocating for policy changes, and working to improve access to high-quality maternal healthcare.
I want to express our collective commitment to health equity and the change that is needed to reduce maternal mortality and morbidity rates in the United States.