There are two medications that prevent preterm birth, the most common cause of perinatal death in the US.
One costs 16 cents a week, one $285.
Poor black women aren’t getting either.
Why? In 2015, for the first time in eight years, the rate of preterm birth in the US rose, despite increased understanding of preventative measures. By one estimate, preterm births cost us an estimated $26billion per year.
Additionally, US maternal death rates are the among the worst for economically similar countries, currently double that of Canada and Spain, and almost three times than for women in Japan. In Texas, they doubled in just over two years.
When the rates are examined more closely, they reveal an alarming narrative about differences in health outcomes that are systematic, avoidable and unjust.
The increased burden of preterm birth on low-income, urban and black women in America is 48 percent higher that of white women in every state.
As an obstetric provider for women with high-risk pregnancies at Boston Medical Center, the largest safety-net hospital in New England, I witness the tragic outcomes of these health inequities every day.
As an investigator tasked with reducing them, I lead teams who have identified several important barriers to access.