“Health disparities exist for a constellation of reasons, including but not limited to health care access, education, historically shaped ideologies, socioeconomic status, and inherent biases from health care providers,” says Dr. Melissa Charles, M.D., a clinical research scientist.
Women of color … are at higher risk of death because of many complicated reasons, not the least of which is institutionalized racism and racial bias in the health care system. [WOC] are often ignored when they complain of pain and other symptoms, putting them at risk of postpartum complications.
Narrowing the health equity gap across the country, she says, then requires “addressing social determinants of health and systemic racial inequity.” Following are 11 statistics that illustrate the health equity gap and show the consequences of these inequities in our health care system.
More than 2.2 million women of childbearing age in the U.S. live where there is no hospital or birth center. These areas, called maternity care deserts, are often urban areas with higher poverty rates. Another 4.8 million women live in counties with limited to no access to prenatal care.
While the survival rate for ovarian cancer has improved for white women over the decades, the prognosis has gotten worse for Black women. Experts say Black and Hispanic women, in particular, do not receive the recommended medical treatments for this deadly reproductive cancer.
Black women are twice as likely as white women to experience severe complications of pregnancy or injury during childbirth. These incidences — extreme blood loss, life-threatening infection, cardiac arrest, and aneurysm, to name a few — are considered near misses.