WSW: Infant Mortality, Poverty And Race

Feb 20, 2017

Credit Gabi Menashe / Flickr

The CEO of YWCA Kalamazoo says “In 30 years we don’t want to be talking about infant mortality in Kalamazoo.” Grace Lubwama says Cradle Kalamazoo will include a new hotline to help connect pregnant women to resources. 

Lubwama says a new hotline will be part of Cradle Kalamazoo. The phone number 269-888-Kids will help connect pregnant women to agencies in the region. She says someone who knows a pregnant woman or mother of a young child, can make a referral.   

Gryphon Place is staffing the phone line. Lubwama says the operators will connect callers to the services they need. She says there are 30 groups coming together, including both hospitals and the Family Health Center.

Lubwama says anyone who calls will be asked about their pregnancy, and about their living conditions such as housing and nutrition. The disparity in infant mortality between black and white babies in Kalamazoo County has long been among the highest in the state. Lubwama says the data shows that being black and poor are key indicators in infant mortality. But she says the data shows wealthy black women have poorer health outcomes than poor white women. Lubwama says income is a protector, but there are still racial disparities. She says they plan to work with providers to address cultural differences.