African American Infant Mortality
Sondra Maxine Bessette
NUR 3805 Professional Roles & Dimensions of Professional Nursing Practice Dr Sandra Knapp
St. John’s River State College
July 20, 2014
African American Infant Mortality
This purpose of this paper is to summarize and discuss one of the current health disparities in Northeast Florida. The health disparity chosen is the alarming rate of infant mortality among African American population in Northeast Florida. We will look at the impact of culture and social values concerning this issue as well as policies and resources that are available to help prevent this atrocity. Methods
The methods used for this paper include defining disparity with information gathered from the internet and researching to determine the most influential disparity in Northeast Florida. The decision to research infant mortality was reached and a definition was identified. A detailed search was completed using keywords such as infant, mortality, Northeast Florida, and African American. The final method utilized in this search included personal interviews with nurses and other professional staff members of several different hospitals in Northeast Florida area. During these interviews, questions were asked concerning this health care disparity and the information gathered was utilized in this paper. Results
Health care disparities are sometimes referred to as healthcare inequalities and defined as the gaps that are found in the quality and availability of health care across racial, ethnic, sexual orientation and socioeconomic groups. (Health Disparities, 2013) This refers to groups of individuals that cannot or do not have access health care due to a lack availability of affordable quality care or a lack of knowledge on how and where to obtain health care. Infant mortality is defined as the death of a child that happens before the first birthday. It has been stated to be one of the leading predictors of how a society is advancing and the general health of the population. (Maridelys & Vitucci, 2014) Even though we have been making great advances in healthcare infant mortality rates continue to reach high levels. The southern states are found to have a higher rate of mortality then the rest of the nation. (Dawson, 2008) In the seven counties of Northeast Florida in 2013 there were a total of 161 deaths in infants. Of these deaths, 71 were Caucasian infants and 90 were African American infants. This is with a birth rate of 12,670 Caucasian babies and 6,643 African Americans in the same counties. (Infant Mortality, n.d.) With these numbers it is indicated that an African American baby is more than twice as likely to die then a Caucasian baby living in the same county. Why is the mortality so much higher in this group? There are many different opinions to this question and several factors seem to influence the result. African American women did not seek prenatal care until after the start of the third trimester or not at all 2.3 times more than the Caucasian white counter parts. The lack of prenatal care leads to lower birth weights. Babies born with low birth weights are four times more likely to die then babies who are born with normal healthy weights. Sudden infant death syndrome is twice as likely, congenital malformations happen 1.3 times more often and maternal complications causing death is 2.7 times more. (Mathews, 2008) The most crucial of these is birth weight because it influences several of the other complications. An infant’s birth weight is stated to be in direct correlation to the health of the child and therefore the United States has a policy for Human Health Services to work on an action plan that will improve birth weight for at risk groups. (Gage, 2012) A project was started in 1995 that reviews detailed information in five of the seven Northeast Florida counties. It studies the fetal and infant mortality rate with a goal to reduce it by getting a better...
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