Healthy People 2020: Maternal, Infant, and Child Health

Maternal, Infant, and Child Health: Outlook and Objectives

Maternal, infant, and child health is a crucial component of the USA’s healthcare system as it aims at enhancing the well-being and health of pregnant women, newborns, and children. Since this aspect has a considerable effect on the development of the whole nation, it is of utmost importance to meet the goals associated with it. The significance of maternal and child health is justified by the opportunity to single out the existing risks to health, as well as predict the emerging ones (“Maternal, Infant, and Child Health: Overview,” n.d.). To meet the objectives related to the selected issue, it is necessary to pay attention to the determinants of health, including the environment, family and social support, educational and financial opportunities, and resource availability.

Agencies Offering Assistance to Consumers

The mentioned agencies provide pregnant women, as well as those who have given birth, with a variety of services aimed at assisting the consumers in making correct health decisions. Furthermore, many of these organizations offer help in meeting Healthy people 2020 objectives (“MCH Organizations,” n.d.). Such important topics as breastfeeding, prenatal education and care, health literacy, substance abuse services, healthy weight, immunization, and many others are raised by the agencies. By addressing one or several of them, a woman can receive answers to the most burning questions and find information on preventing or eliminating adverse effects on her own or her baby’s health.

Barriers to Attaining Objectives

The most significant challenges to attaining Healthy People 2020 objectives are associated with disparities between different groups of the target population. Access to healthcare services, as well as the women’s tendency to utilize them, differs greatly depending on race and ethnicity. As Louis et al. (2015) report, African American women’s disposition to pregnancy-related death is three to four times higher than that of white females. Minority women tend to visit a physician less frequently than white Americans. What is more, a number of race-related health conditions can increase the morbidity rate. These include hypertension, cardiovascular disease, obesity rates, among others (Howell, 2018). Therefore, it is necessary to increase minority women’s interest in health literacy and encourage them to address their health issues in order to eliminate barriers to attain the objectives set.

Roles of Healthcare Professionals

Healthcare professionals from different areas and levels have a considerable effect on consumers’ opportunities to meet the Healthy People objectives. Healthcare practitioners are responsible for managing inequalities in access to care (Edmonson et al., 2017). The CMS improves the quality of care by means of various health initiatives (Maternal & Infant Health Care Quality,” n.d.). The government’s role is in providing financial support for maternal and infant health (HHS Awards,” 2019). Finally, the APHA works on improving women’s and newborns’ well-being and reducing preventable deaths (Maternal and Child Health,” n.d.).

A Health Promotion Program

A suggested health promotion program that has the potential to reach the 2020 objectives is text messaging. As research indicates, the majority of cell phone users in the USA frequently utilize text messaging (Poorman et al., 2015). What is more, African Americans, who constitute the most vulnerable population group in light of maternal, infant, and child health, send text messages much more often than white Americans do (Poorman et al., 2015). Therefore, the program is likely to promote healthy behaviors in the target population concerning a variety of health issues in the preconception, pregnancy, and postpartum and infant care periods.

Community-Based Care

Communities play a rather important role in increasing or eliminating health-related problems. In view of the selected topic, it is viable to speak about the beneficial impact of community-based care on maternal and infant health. Although many positive results have been gained in the direction of meeting Healthy people 2020 objectives, there are still numerous issues faced by low- and middle-income communities (Lassi et al., 2016). Hence, community-based care has the potential to increase women’s access to family planning and pregnancy, as well as reduce the risk of neglecting severe diseases that can complicate pregnancy or the postpartum period.

Financial Support

Financial support is necessary for organizations to make the objectives attainable. Without appropriate funding, none of the services available will be able to operate. Even the text messaging program, despite being seemingly simple, requires expenses on design and operation. Educational materials for women have to be purchased and distributed, which accounts for another unit requiring funding. Finally, the functioning of healthcare facilities and agencies cannot be arranged without financial support. The HHS continuously supports states and nonprofit organizations by providing money to attain maternal and infant health objectives (“HHS Awards,” 2019). By doing so, the government eliminates the need to cut other programs and increases the success of maternal health initiatives.

Health Risks Likely to Prevail if the Goals Are Not Met

In case if Healthy People 2020 goals are not met, severe health risks are likely to prevail among pregnant women and newborns. If women do not receive sufficient support from society and government, their health education is likely to remain low, which will affect future generations. Furthermore, if minority populations’ problems are not given proper attention, these women are likely to continue dying during pregnancy or childbirth at an unprecedented rate. As a result of not meeting the set objectives, child health is bound to deteriorate, leading to adverse outcomes for the generations to come.

Technology Advancements as Helpful Tools

Technological advancements have proven as useful tools for promoting a number of services and educational goals. To meet the objectives for maternity and infant health, it is crucial to utilize mHealth interventions and innovative medical devices (Lee et al., 2016; World Health Organization, 2016). Specifically, mHealth applications will help to provide women with useful resources and track their progress on various educational interventions. Additionally, with their use, it will become possible to send notifications, collect feedback, and organize data.

Conclusion

The topic selected for analysis and discussion is one of the most vital aspects of the healthcare system. Without paying due attention to maternity and child health, the USA cannot expect to guarantee the nation’s well-being. Currently, there are many obstacles in the way of meeting the 2020 timeline. At the same time, many efforts have been and are still being made to increase access to healthcare services for women and newborns.

References

Edmonson, C., McCarthy, C., Trent-Adams, S., McCain, C., & Marshall, J. (2017). Emerging global health issues: A nurse’s role. OJIN: The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing, 22(1).

HHS awards $374 million to programs supporting maternal and child health. (2019). HHS.gov.

Howell, E. A. (2018). Reducing disparities in severe maternal morbidity and mortality. Clinical Obstetrics Gynecology, 61(2), 387-399.

Lassi, Z. S., Kumar, R., & Bhutta, Z. A. (2016). Community-based care to improve maternal, newborn, and child health. In R. E. Black, R. Laxminarayan, M. Temmerman, & N. Walker (Eds.), Reproductive, maternal, newborn, and child health. Disease control priorities (3rd ed.) (Vol. 2) (pp. 263-284). World Bank.

Lee, S. H., Nurmatov, U. B., Nwaru, B. I., Mukherjee, M., Grant, L., & Pagliari, C. (2016). Effectiveness of mHealth interventions for maternal, newborn and child health in low– and middle–income countries: Systematic review and meta–analysis. Journal of Global Health, 6(1).

Louis, J. M., Menard, M. K., & Gee, R. E. (2015). Racial and ethnic disparities in maternal morbidity and mortality. Obstetrics & Gynecology, 125(3), 690-694.

Maternal & infant health care quality. (n.d.). Medicaid.gov.

Maternal and child health. (n.d.). American Public Health Association.

Maternal, infant, and child health: Objectives. (n.d.). Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion.

Maternal, infant, and child health: Overview. (n.d.). Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion.

MCH organizations. (n.d.). Healthy Start EPIC Center.

Poorman, E., Gazmararian, J., Parker, R. M., Yang, B., & Elon, L. (2015). Use of text messaging for maternal and infant health: A systematic review of the literature. Maternal and Child Health Journal, 19(5), 969-989.

World Health Organization. (2016). Interagency list of priority medical devices for essential interventions for reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health.