Black women are five times more likely to die during childbirth

Black mothers have pointed to racism in recent reports which show that black women are five times more likely to die during childbirth.

An ITV Central News report today said recent studies have shown that black women are five times more likely to die in childbirth. (Central: Black women five times more likely to die during childbirth, according to reports: Thursday 6 August, 2020)

Although the reports state that it is unclear why black women are disproportionately represented in maternity deaths, some black mothers had no doubt that racism played a role.

Rajiv Popat, in the series True Colours, interviewed some of the mothers who had disturbing accounts of how they were treated in maternity because of the colour of their skin.

Popat said that “For many black women the experience of giving birth has left them with emotional and physical scars

Independent midwife, Elsie Gayle said, “If I’m truly honest, I believe that racism is embedded in every structure that surrounds us in society, and that includes maternity services in the NHS“. In answer to the question of whether black women are being let down, she had no doubt, “I can tell you straight up, black women are being let down, their voices are not being listened to, they are not being heard…”

NHS: Racism At It’s Most Savage

It was shocking for me to hear that black mothers in the UK continued to experience racism in maternity services.

As a young man my own mother has told me horrific stories about how she was treated as a black woman in maternity in 1960s and 70s Britain. Over fifty years on and it seems that things are still the same.

I want to make it clear to my readers the gravity of what these often sanitised reports are saying. They are saying that black women are dying because of racist discrimination.

Our lives are in the hands of carers who swore an oath to save lives and respect the sanctity of life. If that oath only applies to white people then there is a serious issue which the NHS must deal with immediately from the legal standpoint of prosecuting offenders.

If the prejudicial behaviour of an NHS worker lead to the death of a black child or black mother then surely this is a case for manslaughter?

In September 2011, I wrote the article, Disturbing link to race in detective investigation at Cumbria hospital maternity ward. An investigation into the deaths of babies and mothers at Furness General Hospital uncovered a disturbing link between to race. Under The Freedom of Information Act it was found that a large number of deaths at the hospital involved women from ethnic minorities.

This was nine years ago and yet the reports in today’s news say that it unclear why black women are five times more likely to die in childbirth.

Black nurse, Milton Hanson exposed the racist treatment of black people in 2003 at a sexual health clinic in South London, including a European nurse who boasted to him and other nurses …”that she would push the urethral probe deeper than necessary up the urethra of black males to cause them physical pain“; but I suppose that we are still unclear to why black women are five times more likely to die in childbirth? (Watson: Black nurse who fought against racism in the NHS dies of cancer, 7 June, 2010)

It goes around and around in circles and nothing of any worth is being done for me to say that ten years from now we will not be speaking about the same issue.

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