Melinda Gates annual letter will address U.S. maternal death rates

Melinda Gates annual letter will address U.S. maternal death rates

Melinda and Bill Gates, who have been longtime proponents of child and maternal health around the world, are bothered that America has the worst maternal death rate of any developed country.

Melinda Gates told Business Insider the couple’s forthcoming annual letter will address the problem. The letter is expected to be made public sometime in the next month. 

More: Hospitals know how to protect mothers. They just aren’t doing it.

“Those statistics are incredibly disturbing, so we are definitely looking at that. Bill and I are actually writing about that a little bit in our annual letter this year. A lot of those births have to do with preterm birth, which is happening more with African-American women. We need to unpack why that is happening. Is it barriers in their communities? Is it something genetic? Is it both? Is it stress? We need to focus on that in the United States. So yes, we are looking at that.”

Each year, more than 50,000 mothers are severely injured and about 700 die, a USA TODAY investigation found. Better medical care could have prevented or reduced half of all deaths or injuries, the report found.

The investigation also found that, between 1990 to 2015, the number of maternal deaths per 100,000 births rose in America but stayed flat or dropped in most developed nations.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation committed $220 million to the Global Financing Facility that goes toward the improvement of women and children’s health in more than 50 counties.  

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