WHAMglobal Supports Zita Healthy Beginnings’ Maternal Health Workshop hosted on April 13, 2019

Zita's Healthy Beginnings, a nonprofit started by Zita Iwuoha to respond to the maternal health crisis in rural Nigeria, hosted their first-ever maternal health workshop for women of African descent in the diaspora.

The purpose of the workshop was to explore the intersectionality of pregnancy and birth risks that affect women both in Africa and in the United States, and how to better serve African women in the American healthcare system.

The workshop was led by a panel of experts across the maternal health spectrum. The keynote speaker Dr. Margaret Pettigrew, Associate Professor in Ob-Gyn & Head of Global Health at Case Western Reserve School of Medicine, shared her experience working in low-income countries. She pointed out that countries with no around-the-clock monitoring of mothers have low C-section rates, a practice that is uncommon in the United States. Dr. Pettigrew also shared the disappointing gaps in care and the persistent racial disparities in maternal health care services and the need to advance centering pregnancy initiatives in supporting moms during pregnancy.

Both Dr. Noble Maseru, the Director of the Center for Health Equity at the University of Pittsburgh and Dr. Betty Braxter – Assistant Professor School of Nursing at University of Pittsburgh also expressed similar concerns over the persistent racial disparities in health care which continue to disproportionately affect women of color.

Brandy Gentry, a Birth and Bereavement Doula and Founder of Oli's Angels Inc., shared her personal experience of loss and the challenges she encountered while navigating the care system. She also shared her experience as a doula working with high-risk moms across different social economic levels and how their care differs based on race.

In a closing remark, Dr. Pettigrew emphasized the need for initiatives like WONDOOR (an acronym for Women, Neonates, Diversity, Opportunities, Outreach, Research), which work to ensure that all women should have the same access to healthcare no matter what door they go through. She called upon the need to build common ground for women of colors from different backgrounds.

WHAMglobal continues to support such grassroots initiatives that work to improve maternal health outcomes in our region. If you would like to learn more about how you can get involved, please leave us your comment or contact us at info@whamglobal.org

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