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On November 3, 2017, Solano HEALS was  featured in the Daily Republic, Solano County's News Source.
 
During the Solano County Board of Supervisors Meeting on October 24, 2017, Vanessa Stallworth shared her personal story about prematurity and co-leads Sakari Lyons of Black Infant Health Program and Lakethia-Lake Pascua of Kaiser Permanente accepted the Prematurity Awareness Resolution.
Rate of premature births – top cause  of infant mortality – on rise

 

By Todd R. Hansen

FAIRFIELD — Vanessa Stallworth works to make sure other mothers do not have to go through what she did.

Stallworth watched her son, Elijah Joseph Parker, die four days after his birth, which came about six months into her pregnancy.

“I am a big, big, big, big fan of Prematurity Awareness Month, March of Dimes, Solano HEALS,” Stallworth told the Solano County Board of Supervisors on Oct. 24.

 

Solano Health Equity for All Lives in Solano is a relatively new community collaborative headed by the county and Kaiser Permanente that is studying a variety of health issues.

The board, with Supervisor Monica Brown absent, adopted a resolution recognizing November as Prematurity Awareness Month.

“I love what I do,” said Stallworth, who is the office manager at La Clinica Great Beginnings in Vallejo. “It is important for mothers to get prenatal care as early as possible; it is important for them to get educated. Had I known what I know now, I probably would have done things differently.”

Premature birth is the leading cause of infant mortality (up to 1 year) and lifelong disabilities – and with 380,000 premature births in the U.S. in 2016, the rate of giving birth before 37 weeks is on the rise.

In fact, after seven years of decline, the rate of premature births increased to 9.84 percent in the United States, the second straight year the country experienced an increase.

There were 451 premature births to Solano County mothers in 2016, and that includes births outside of the county. That represents 8.6 percent of all births, said Susan Whalen, the senior health education specialist and perinatal service coordinator for the county.

“And I would not say there is a significant statistical trend upward” for premature births in the county, Whalen said.

However, just like the national numbers show, premature births is the top cause for children dying before age 1, as well as the development of serious lifelong disabilities.

“. . . The more than a quarter-million infants, or 1 in 10 births, born prematurely in the United States each year may face weeks or months in the neonatal intensive care unit . . . as well as increased risk of serious medical complications and death,” the resolution states.

“. . . Lifestyle and environmental risks such as late or no prenatal care, smoking, drinking alcohol or using drugs, exposure to domestic violence, lack of social support, extremely high levels of stress, and long working hours with prolonged periods of standing may put a woman at greater risk of preterm birth; and . . . medical conditions including previous preterm birth, pregnancy with multiples or certain uterine or cervical abnormalities, diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity may also contribute to premature birth,” the resolution states.

County health officials noted that reducing premature births will also reduce the demand on public health resources.

Link to original article available here.

It’s Not Your Fault, Sis!
By Devon Lee 
 
Hearts broken before the first beat  
Innocence lost before a breath is taken
Miracles stolen
Life lost
Dreams never dreamt
Who cries
When babies that moms choose die 
 
It’s not your fault, Sis! 

We exist
In a world where infant mortality
Is on the rise
And we watch
While mothers like Serena Williams
Almost die
Simply because the skin
That contains her beauty  
Is Black 
 
It’s not your fault, Sis! 
 
In medicine and in life
Black girl magic
Too often
Ends in death
Where those that are meant to save Neglect 
 
It’s not your fault, Sis! 
 
We have read the script
Where social determinants of health
And access to healthcare
Are the main culprit
Sanitizing gloves hands
As if
Our mistrust of the medical apartheid
Is our fault Infant mortality and mothering morbidity are on the rise 
 
It’s not your fault, Sis! 

Too often are you left
To fend for yourself
While you defend all around you
Your legacy social movements
Your womb the birthplace of kingdoms
Yours is a world where growing rates of incarceration and education don’t make logical sense
Until you consider the impact of racism
To minimize potential
By differential treatment
A journey that meets at the intersection of racism and sexism. 
 
It’s not your fault, Sis! 
 
Racism has health outcomes
It is literally a pediatric diagnosis
That reduces lifespans
Trapping a people between
What Martin Luther King recognized as nihilism and white supremacy
But yet we survive 
 
It’s not your fault, Sis! 
 
It’s the fault of everyone but you
Those who see you as a problem
But, not solving yours as their solution
See, when you center solutions around the experiences of black women
The group with the highest infant and mothering death rates
You solve for everyone
Not just those that look like the people making decisions. 
 
It’s not your fault, Sis! 
 
WE are the solution! 
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