Sun. May 26th, 2024

MDH launches ‘Hear Her’ campaign to reduce pregnancy-related deaths

MDH launches ‘Hear Her’ campaign to reduce pregnancy-related deaths

This year, an alarming number of Minnesotans are at risk of succumbing to pregnancy-related complications, most of which are avoidable. The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) is introducing the “Hear Her” campaign to the state, focusing on highlighting critical maternal warning signs to prevent such complications and fatalities, especially among pregnant Black individuals who frequently encounter dismissiveness of their concerns. MDH is collaborating with the CDC to promote this campaign by disseminating co-branded materials and advertisements across the state.

Black Minnesotans, constituting 13% of the birthing population, accounted for a disproportionate 27% of the 75 pregnancy-associated deaths reported from 2017 to 2019, as per an MDH report on maternal mortality (PDF).

Minnesota Commissioner of Health Dr. Brooke Cunningham emphasized the alarming trend: “In one of the healthiest states in the country, Black women are dying at a rate that far exceeds their share of the population. We are bringing the campaign to Minnesota because we can all play a role in doing more to hear, learn, and act on preventing these deaths.”

Acknowledging that individuals understand their bodies best, the campaign urges vigilance for new or worsening symptoms during pregnancy. It emphasizes the importance of promptly addressing concerns with a healthcare provider.

The Hear Her campaign advocates for active listening and quick action by partners, family, friends, and healthcare providers to potentially save lives, underscoring everyone’s responsibility in this effort.

Women, along with their friends and family, should be aware of and communicate warning symptoms, including severe abdominal pain, fever, vaginal bleeding, or thoughts of harming themselves or their baby.

Healthcare providers play a crucial role in managing chronic conditions and having ongoing conversations about the warning signs of complications. They should listen to patients and ensure that concerns are adequately addressed. MDH’s new Hear Her webpage provides tools for obstetric providers, pediatric staff, and other healthcare professionals.

Hospitals and health systems have a crucial role in coordinating care, fostering communication and collaboration among healthcare providers. They should strive to enhance the delivery of quality care before, during, and after pregnancy and standardize responses to obstetric emergencies. Through the Dignity in Pregnancy and Childbirth Act, effective January 2023, MDH collaborated with the University of Minnesota Center for Antiracism Research for Health Equity to offer eLearning courses for healthcare professionals on the impact of bias and structural racism on maternal health.

Communities play a vital role in addressing various factors influencing parents and families, including access to housing, healthcare, and transportation services. Minnesota supports a statewide Maternal Mortality Review Committee, which examines the causes of every maternal death and recommends actions to prevent future fatalities. Additional initiatives include the Minnesota Perinatal Quality Collaborative, the Maternal Health Task Force, and the Innovations for Maternal Health Outcomes in Minnesota (I-MOM) program. Addressing maternal mortality requires a multifaceted approach involving diverse solutions.

MDH initiated the placement of Hear Her ads in April, with plans for the campaign to continue throughout the summer. Hear Her forms part of a broader strategy by the CDC aimed at reducing pregnancy-related complications and fatalities. MDH is coordinating various activities, including the amplification of this campaign, as part of the Enhancing Reviews and Surveillance to Eliminate Maternal Mortality initiative.

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