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$1.4 million in federal funding to address increased number of Black pregnant mother deaths in Harris County

HARRIS COUNTY, Texas – Congresswoman Lizzie Fletcher held a news conference on Tuesday to discuss the $1.4 million in federal funding given to help Harris County’s Black Maternal and Child Health Program.

The United States has the highest maternal mortality rate of all developed countries, and Black mothers in Harris County are 1.4 times more likely to die during pregnancy and childbirth than anywhere else in the United States, according to Fletcher.

The funds for this initiative were provided through American Rescue Plan Act funds that were requested by Fletcher.

The program aims to help empower Black mothers and other women. It also aims to help educate them about the medical system, so they can advocate for themselves. The program is also designed to help these women receive resources and medical care before, during and after pregnancy.

The program will use evidence-based initiatives to help families navigate parenting, and it will include a home visitation model.

Harris County Commissioner Rodney Ellis supported the program.

“My precinct is home to some of the top tier research institutions and the largest medical center not just in Texas but in the world, yet we have higher maternal mortality rates compared to the rest of the county and the rest of the country,” Ellis said.

Harris County leaders said they hope to combat this issue with the innovative program.

“This project is a demonstration of not only what we can do here in Harris County, but what communities across the country can do following in our lead,” Fletcher said.

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