CDC awards Indiana $2 million grant to study maternal mortality

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Indiana has won a federal grant worth more than $2.1 million to examine ways to lower the state’s maternal mortality rate, the third highest in the nation.

The state health department said Thursday it was awarded a five-year grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to help expand and strengthen its maternal mortality review process.

The state said it will receive nearly $425,000 each year to develop and implement policies and protocols to prevent or manage maternal illness, improve timely recognition of early warning signs, and provide effective discharge counseling. The grant period runs from Sept. 30 to Sept. 29, 2024.

Maternal mortality refers to death of a woman while pregnant or within one year of the end of pregnancy.

In Indiana, the rate is 41.4 deaths per 100,000 births, according to United Health Foundation’s America’s Health Rankings in 2018.

Only Louisiana (44.8) and Georgia (46.2) scored worse. The national rate is 20.7 deaths per 100,000 births.

The grant will allow Indiana to make recommendations “to improve the health outcomes of women of reproductive age,” using data, the state health department said.

“Accurately capturing what is happening when pregnant women die with no immediately obvious cause will help us create prevention programs at the local, state and national levels,” said Gretchen Martin, director of the state’s Division of Fatality Review and Prevention, in a written statement.

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