Dr. Michelle Nelson on Maternal Mortality
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Everybody wants to come live here, but a lot of people don't realize that a great portion of Georgia is rural, here in Georgia, we are doing very poorly, particularly centering on maternal mortality. There are some women who after having given birth have to drive 80 - 100 miles to get to a hospital or provider. And it's unconscionable that women are dying, children are dying, and this is absolutely preventable. We need more providers, particularly in rural areas. In the state of Georgia.
There are 15,000, approximately 15,000 physicians. Now this is just simple math, 15,000 physicians to serve the population of about 11 million citizens. That's clearly not enough. We have maternal mortality outcome that rivals third world countries, they're doing better than we are.
You know, when I read the research, and I look at all of the different things that contribute to maternal mortality being highest among African American women, they really are not sure why, but they do say that, you know, a long history of racism and unequal treatment are contributing factors, not the factor, but contributing factors. When you are living in areas where an African-American area, you have a much lower lifespan than someone who lives in Buckhead, Bankhead versus Buckhead. There's an issue when you live in an area and all that you're seeing for the most part is fast food and liquor stores. That should not be, you don't have parks, you don't have resources, but then you go to other areas that have all these resources. They're no better than those who live in Bankhead. Bankhead is not lesser than Buckhead. And we had to do a better job of making sure that people have access to healthy foods, resources in their communities, healthcare, providers that have a commitment to making sure that everyone is treated the same way, that we are doing our best to lessen healthcare disparities, and that we're doing our best to turn Georgia around.
We are so greatly divided and you know, it's time that we come together, particularly when it comes to healthcare that we understand that without healthy mothers and babies, we don't have a healthy state.