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First Lady Tammy Murphy.

First lady announces recommendations on maternal, infant mortality

Report seeks to bridge racial disparities, improve care quality

By Nikita Biryukov, January 25 2021 11:37 am

First Lady Tammy Murphy on Monday announced a series of recommendations to eliminate racial disparities in maternal and infant mortality, also seeking to drive down such deaths across the board.

“The Nurture NJ Maternal and Infant Health Strategic Plan provides the blueprint for necessary collaboration, partnership, and communication among government, private stakeholders, nonprofits and impacted communities and will ensure every New Jersey mother and baby gets off to a healthy start,” Murphy said.

Black residents are roughly twice as likely to experience a pregnancy-related death than white or Hispanic residents. At 9.4, the infant mortality rate among Black residents per 1,000 live births more than doubles the state average of 4.5, and it’s more than three times the rate experienced by white infants.

The newly-announced plan aims to cut maternal mortality in half over five years while eliminating racial disparities by increasing access to prenatal care, foster supportive environments for pregnant women and increase postpartum care.

It also urges a new focus on social detriments — like environmental contaminants — that could lead to negative health outcomes.

“This plan is not just a ‘quick fix’ — it’s a long-term strategy that will result in the systemic change needed to reach our goal of making New Jersey the safest and most equitable place in the nation to give birth and raise a baby,” said Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver, who is commissioner of the Department of Community Affairs. “By focusing on equity, we can more effectively transform a system that has been failing New Jersey’s women of color for too long.”

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