Among all 50 states and the District of Columbia, Missouri’s rank advanced four places to 37th overall in America’s Health Rankings’ Health of Women and Children Report 2019, up from 41st in 2018. Within women’s health specifically, Missouri jumped eight spots on the ranking list. The report uses over 60 metrics to compare and rank the health of women of reproductive age, infants and children among the 50 states.
While Missouri officials appreciate some of the successes seen among public health care of women, infants and children, they also acknowledge areas more progress is needed.
“We greatly appreciate the collaborative efforts of so many partners in the state that have resulted in our state’s health rankings advancing from 46th to 38th for women’s health and from 36th to 32nd for children’s health,” said Randall Williams, Department of Health and Senior Services director. “And yet, the report clearly identifies areas in which we are determined to improve the state’s infrastructure and workforce to meet our fundamental mission of prevention as it relates to maternal mortality, vaccination of preventable diseases and other clinical outcomes.”
One of the challenges noted in the report is the high rate of maternal mortality in Missouri. Collaborations are in place that aim to eliminate preventable maternal mortality and severe morbidity nationwide, states a Department of Health and Human Services release.
“Missouri legislators passed Senate Bill 514 this year, which established a Pregnancy-Associated Mortality Review in order to improve data collection and reporting of maternal deaths in Missouri. The newly formed PAMR Board is responsible for analyzing all maternal deaths and making recommendations for preventative measures. DHSS was recently accepted into Alliance for Innovation on Maternal Health collaborative, and the department is also coordinating with the CDC to identify, review and characterize maternal deaths and identify prevention opportunities,” states the release.
Nationally, tobacco use during pregnancy decreased to 6.9% of live births compared to 14.5 percent of Missouri’s live births over the last year. Pregnant women who use tobacco, or even breathe in secondhand smoke, become more at risk for having a miscarriage, a stillbirth or an infant with low birth weight, states the release.
One of the strengths for Missouri includes a high flu vaccination coverage among women, which is in line with the national trend showing a 5% increase in flu vaccination among women ages 18 to 44.