KDHE maternal mortality initiative

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) – The Kansas Department of Health and Environment has been granted an infusion of cash in order to address the state’s biggest maternal mortality agents – homicide and suicide.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment says it has been granted funding by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women’s Health as part of the State, Local, Territorial and Tribal Partnership Programs to Reduce Maternal Deaths due to Violence.

Additionally, the KDHE said it has partnered with Kansas Perinatal Quality Collaborative to enroll in the Alliance for Innovation on Maternal Health as part of the October 2021 cohort.

According to data from the KDHE, the Kansas maternal mortality rate between 2018 and 2018 of 14.8 per 100,000 mothers is almost 30% higher than the Health People 2020 goal of 11.4. It said the initiatives would help address the urgent matter.

“These initiatives will provide vital education and training to patients and providers across the state of Kansas,” said Janet Stanek Acting Secretary. “We are thankful for the ongoing collaboration with our partners across the state to implement these key initiatives to help in reducing the maternal mortality rate.”

Through the Kansas Maternal Mortality Review Committee case reviews of maternal deaths in the state between 2016 and 2018, the KDHE said homicide was the second leading cause of maternal deaths. It said substance use disorder or mental health contributed to more than half of pregnancy-related deaths.

The Department said it will work with partners at the Kansas Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence, Kansas Connecting Communities, the KPQC and KMMRC to launch the Maternal Anti-Violence Innovation and Sharing Project in order to reduce these deaths in the state due to homicide and suicide.

The KDHE said the MAVIS Project will continue to expand on the success of the KMMRC to gather more data related to violent maternal deaths. Additionally, it said the MAVIS Project will provide perinatal mood and anxiety disorder, perinatal substance use, and intimate partner violence cross-training to perinatal care and domestic violence service providers.

The KDHE said the KMMRC found about one-in-four deaths of women who had been pregnant in a single year were pregnancy-related and over 90% of them were preventable.

According to the Department, the Alliance for Innovation on Maternal Health will implement a maternity quality initiative project based on the Postpartum Discharge Transition Patient Safety Bundle. It said the bundle offers a national forum to exchange innovative ideas and resources in order to maintain improvement in maternal safety and quality.

The KDHE said it has also partnered with KPQC to launch the Fourth Trimester Initiative, which is a statewide effort to improve maternal health and decrease maternal morbidity and mortality for all Kansas mothers. It said FTI uses a three-pronged collaborative approach to address maternal health by educating stakeholders, including patients, about awareness efforts. It said the initiative includes 25 birthing facilities throughout the state.

The Department said its Maternal Warning Signs Initiative, which is a component of the FTI project, provides patient, partner and community education throughout pregnancy and the postpartum period on important topics like the signs of preterm birth and stillbirth, perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, and warning signs of life-threatening pregnancy-related complications.

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