Black, American Indian and Hispanic babies are up to 2.4 times more likely to die in the first year[D]
Current health outcomes
North Carolina has the 11th highest infant mortality rate in the country – at a rate of 6.8 per 1,000.1
Health care disparities in underserved and marginalized communities are largely to blame. Birthing people of color in North Carolina are more likely to die from preventable maternal health issues than White people. They are often met with racial bias and receive fewer educational services during labor and delivery than White people who give birth. These factors lead to worsening health outcomes for birthing people of color and their children.
Black birthing people are 3 or 4 times more likely to die during childbirth[D]
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), 60% of maternal deaths are preventable[D]
We're working with organizations across the state to tackle maternal and infant health inequities
We believe infant and maternal mortality is a public health crisis, and it's more important than ever to address the issues causing disparities during labor and postpartum health care.
Our goal? To improve health equity by reducing racial disparities in maternal and infant health care by 50% in 5 years.
We're focusing on the communities that need our help the most. When we make maternal and infant health disparities in marginalized communities a priority, we can address the state's infant and maternal mortality rate for all North Carolinians.
We are investing $2 million into evidence-based initiatives that are shown to make a significant improvement on infant and maternal health outcomes across the state – specifically the health and well-being of birthing people, and children, of color. We put out a request for proposals for organizations that have sustainable and expandable maternal health programs to help us address the factors that contribute to poor maternal health and birth outcomes like:
- Implicit bias / structural racism
- Safe sleep habits
- Tobacco, alcohol and substance use cessation
- Prenatal care
- Social drivers of health
- Maternal mental health
- Severe Maternal Morbidity (SMM)
- Postpartum care
We're investing in 7 organizations to address maternal and infant health
As as result of our RFP, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (Blue Cross NC) is investing over $2 million in seven initiatives led by diverse community organizations[D] and agencies across the state. These organizations are dedicated to improving maternal and infant health outcomes in Black, Hispanic and American Indian communities.
These initiatives will:
- Address non-medical drivers of health for birthing people, including food security, transportation and affordable housing
- Increase access to specially trained nurses, breastfeeding education, and diverse lactation consultants and doulas
- Improve the quality and spectrum of care for birthing people and their babies
- Educate providers on racial bias and its implications on health outcomes for birthing people and their babies
These initiatives will span multiple years, and will help improve the experiences for birthing people and babies from historially underserved communities. And will contribute to our ultimate goal of reducing racial disparities in maternal and child health by 50% in 5 years.
Learn more about the initiatives we're investing in and the counties impacted
Point of Blue
Read more from our Blue Cross NC Blog about maternal and infant health care disparities in North Carolina.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability in its health programs and activities. Learn more about our non-discrimination policy and no-cost services available to you.
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