Coalition launches to help pregnant women in Third Ward, Sunnyside

Houston Chronicle, By Michael Slaten, Staff Writer
Feb. 22, 2019

A coalition of health organizations launched an initiative Friday to combat maternal mortality and morbidity in the Third Ward and Sunnyside, areas where women die after giving birth at much higher rates than compared to other parts of Harris County.

Healthy Women Houston members said that making sure women are accessing health care during pregnancy and after giving birth is important to reduce risk of death or disease.

The group plans to connect women in Third Ward and Sunnyside with community care coordinators. They will assess the health of women and link them with the health care options including, check ups, pregnancy care, and mental health support, organizers said.

“We know that if they have those things in place, they are going to be healthy,” said LaToya Shields, program manager of specialized services and programs for the Council on Recovery.

Healthy Women Houston is made up of the Council on Recovery, Avenue 360 Health & Wellness, Community Health Choice, Harris County Domestic Violence Coordinating Council, Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston, and the Memorial Hermann Health System.

A 2018 report that examined Harris County’s maternal health found life-threatening, pregnancy-related complications happen at a higher rate than compared to the state and nation. In Harris County, those complications rose 50 percent between 2008 and 2015.

“This is a medically rich community…for maternal mortality to be increasing in Harris County is simply unacceptable,” said Mayor Sylvester Turner who attended the Friday morning launch at Emancipation Park.

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