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Letter: Explaining high black maternal mortality

Black maternal mortality was among topics discussed at

Black maternal mortality was among topics discussed at the "State of Black Nassau County" forum March 2 at the Elmont Memorial Library. Above, forum organizer Carrie Solages, a Nassau County legislator. Credit: Howard Simmons

The assertion by Nassau County Health Commissioner Dr. Lawrence Eisenstein that we do not know the reasons for the high rate of black maternal mortality is just not so [“Addressing the state of black life in Nassau,” News, March 3].

The research on health disparities in maternal and infant mortality speaks to consequences such as the chronic stress of racial and gender discrimination throughout the lives of these women, regardless of socioeconomic status or educational level.

Once we take racism into account, according to policy analysts at the Early Childhood Center for American Progress, “public policy and program solutions must be developed to dismantle it — spurring a lasting impact on health outcomes.”

More concrete steps that can be taken in Nassau County, according to birth equity advocate Martine Hackett of Hofstra University, are to inform women after childbirth of warning signs for hemorrhage, embolism or infection, especially when there are pre-existing conditions; enhance service integration for women and infants; and treat women of color with dignity, respect and culturally relevant care.

Andrew Malekoff,Long Beach

Editor’s note: The writer is executive director of the North Shore Child and Family Guidance Center in Roslyn Heights.