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HRSA Announces $15 Million To Address Maternal Health Disparities in Rural Areas

The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) announced $15 million in new investments to fund maternal healthcare in rural and tribal communities. HRSA’s investments work to address maternal mortality and maternal health disparities, especially in rural areas. Pregnant people in rural areas face unique challenges in accessing maternal care such as traveling long distances, limited access and higher maternal mortality rates. Women’s and maternal healthcare leaders across Arizona gathered Monday at HRSA’s Enhancing Maternal Health Initiative conference at the High Country Conference Center to share their experiences in the field and as mothers. Kim Russell, executive director of Navajo Nation’s Department of Health said there is not a uniform strategy to address maternal/child care on a government level and she said the differing rules federally and on a non-profit and tribal level is stifling progress. “In order for us to do some of this work we have to work with all these different systems,” Russell said. “I think that’s a challenge we have from a tribal perspective, is that there’s all these different systems trying to reach the same goal, but we all can’t reach it.” She said her siblings were born and raised on the Navajo Nation but she was not. She said many tribes in Arizona do not have the choice to give birth on their motherland and have to go off reservation to have their babies. For more information about maternal care resources visit hrsa.gov.

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