Structural racism leads to higher maternal mortality

The Covid-19 pandemic unveiled the inequality that marks the maternal mortality of black and white women, which is explained by Emanuelle Góes, postdoctoral researcher at CIDACS/Fiocruz/Bahia, PhD in Public Health and member of the Racism and GT Health of the Brazilian Association of Collective Health (Abrasco). During the last year, 78% more black pregnant women died than white women by Covid, according to a survey carried out by the NGO Criola.

The researcher explains that maternal mortality, in general, is an avoidable event and that it had been decreasing over the years, with a stagnation in this fall from 2014 onwards. Emanuelle Góes notes, however, that this decrease occurred unevenly, being higher for white women and to a lesser extent for black women. And that this issue got worse in the context of the pandemic.

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Public health professionals and researchers already predicted that Covid-19 would impact pregnant women in a different way. “Obviously, it was going to have a greater impact on black pregnant women, from regions farther away from the centers, from the outskirts, from the north and northeast”, explains the researcher.

She also says that the Brazilian State so far has not presented any initiative to overcome these indices. “There is no initiative to reduce maternal mortality with a view to combating racism. Black women die because racism is structural, it is institutional”.

Thus, for researcher Emanuelle Góes, in order to reverse this scenario, it is necessary to implement policies to fight racism in healthcare spaces, and in particular in obstetric care. “Women need to stop dying a preventable death. Stop dying in a moment and that they are giving their lives”, he concludes.

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Source: BoF Bahia

Edition: Elen Carvalho

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